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Printed for the Public Free Libraries Committee by Thos. Sowler & Sons Limited 




Prefatory Note xiii 

Committee AND Officers xv 

History of the Manchester Public Library Movement - 

First Efforts i 

Speech by Joseph Brotherton, M.P 3 

Letter from the Prince Consort 5 

Speech by Sir John Potter 6 

Speeches by Thackeray 8, 25 

Speech by Dickens 10 

Speech by Lord Ly tton 12 

Speech by R. M. Milnes 15 

Report of the Working Mens' Committee 17 

Speech by John Bright 21 

Inaugural Epic 27 

Free Libraries and Education 30 

Lectures 32 

The Campfield Building 35 

Beginning of the Branches 37 

Death of Sir John Potter 4° 

Edward Edwards, First Librarian 41 

R. W. Smiles, Second Librarian 48 

The Rochdale Road Branch 49 

Speeches by Harry Rawson 50, 172, 193 

Speech by I vie Mackie 53 

Speech by Prof. J. G. Greenwood 53 

Donations and Gifts 5^) 94 

The Reference Library Catalogue 58 

The Hulme Branch 59 

Speeches by Thomas Baker 60, 76, loi, 106, 129, 161 

Speech by the Rev. F. C. Woodhouse 64 

Speech by the Rev. Canon Toole 69 

Speech by the Rev. Geo. Bowden 7° 

The Chorltoh and Ardwick Branch 75 

Speech by the Earl of Shaftesbury 80 

Speech by Edward James, Q. C 83 

Speech by Dudley Field 85 

Speech by the Rev. Alex. Thomson 86 

Speech by H. Austin Bruce, M.P 89 



The Ancoats Branch 94 

The Brotherton Memorial Fund 95 

Expenditure ti) 1869 96 

Increasing the Income 97 

Number of Volumes and Issues, 1852-70 99 

Effect of Condition of the Labour Market 100 

The Cheetham Branch loi 

Speeches by James Croston 105, 112, 134 

The Reference Library 116 

Speeches by Chancellor R. C. Christie 119 

Speeches by James Crossley 120, 131 

Speech by Abel Hey wood 122 

Speech by Dr. John Watts 123 

The Deansgate Branch 127 

Sunday Opening 1 36 

Boys' Rooms 137, 280 

English Dialect and other Societies 139 

The Bailey Shorthand Collection 141 

The Hazlitt Collection 144 

The Gipsy Collection 146 

Andrea Crestadoro, Third Librarian 149 

Reading Rooms 151 

Sir Thomas Baker, Kt 152 

Employment of Women as Assistants 155 

Asking for Grant of Parliamentary Papers 156 

Greater Manchester 164 

Number of Volumes and Issues, 1870-87 165 

The Newton Heath Branch 166 

Speeches by James W. Southern 169, 181, 190, 192, 198, 210 

Speech by John Mark 171 

Speech by George Milner 173 

The Rusholme Branch 175 

Address by Sir Henry Roscoe 1 78 

The Longsight Branch 182 

Address by Alexander Ireland 185 

The Chester Road Reading Room 191 

Speech by Alderman Marshall 193 

The Gorton Branch 196 

Address by Dr. A. W. Ward 199 

The Openshaw Branch 204 

Address by Chancellor R. C. Christie 205 

Speech by J. H. Crosfield 212 

The Moston Branch 214 

Delivery Stations 215 

Use of the Newsrooms 215 


Summary of Statistics 21S 

Spontaneous Growth 219 

What the Estabhshment of Libraries may mean 219 

The Economic Lesson of Public Libraries 221 

The Cost 221 

Income Tax 222 

Rules, Regulations, and Bye-laws 228 

Directions to Readers and Borrowers 233 

The Reference Library: Guide to its Contents and Use ... 237 

Specifications and Patents 237 

Directories 239 

Newspaper Files 241 

Parliamentary Papers 242 

Reviews, Magazines, and Newspapers 242 

The Owen Manuscripts 247 

The Hibbert-Ware Manuscripts 249 

Other Manuscripts 252 

Early Printed Books 255 

Rare or Curious Books 256 

Illustrated Books 261 

How to obtain Books 266 

Bibliographies 267 

Growth of the Library in Books and their use 269 

The Lending Libraries 270 

Periodicals and Newspapers taken 271 

The Reading Rooms 276 

Bradford Reading Room 276 

Harpurhey Reading Room 277 

Hyde Road Reading Room 278 

The Library Staff 281 

Areas of the Libraries and Newsrooms 283 



The Campneld Building. (The first home of the Manchester Public 

Libraries) Frontispiece. 

Rochdale Road Branch, Reading Room Page \% 

Hulme Branch (2) 72 

Chorlton and Ardvvick Branch (2) 88 

Ancoats Branch (2) 9^ 

Cheatham Branch (2) 104 

Reference Library (2) 120 

Deansgale Branch (2) 128 

Newton Heath Branch, Library 168 

Rusholme Branch, Reading Room 176 

Longsight Branch, Library 184 

Chester Road Reading Room 192 

Gorton Branch (2) 200 

Harpurhey Reading Room 204 

Openshaw Branch (2) 208 

Moston Branch, Reading Room 216 


This tvork is issued by authority and under the direction of 
the Manchester Public Free Libraries Committee, in the belief 
that it will be of service to many persons who, while accustomed 
to use the Free Libraries, are yet unacquainted with the history 
and full resources of those institutions ; and also in the hope 
that many of those who have not yet availed themselves of the 
great advantages which the Libraries offer to all thoughtful 
people, ivill, by a perusal of its co7itents — should the volume 
fall i}ito their hands — be induced to frequent them. 

Another desire has been to provide answers, as far as 
possible, to the numerous enquiries with regard to the establish- 
ment and working of tJie Manchester Free Libraries which 
are constantly being received from those interested in the 
pro?notion of such institutions in the United Kingdom, or 
abroad. Much of the information usually asked for will 
therefore be found ivithin the following pages, yet I shall ever 
deem it one of my most pleasing duties to answer any further 
questio?is or to attempt the resolutiofi of afiy difficulties or 
doubts which ?fiay occur to those interested or engaged in 
advancing the ivell-being of public libraries. 


Chief Librarian. 

Committee, 1898*9. 

Chairman— Alderman JAMES W. SOUTHERN. 

Deputy-Chaikman— Councillor PLUMMER. 

The lord MAYOR (Councillor W. H. VAUDREY). 

Councillor GOLDSCHMIDT. 

Alderman CROSFIELD. 


Sir B. T. LEECH. 


Councillor BRADDON, M.D 











Deputy-Chief Librarian— WILLIAM ROBERT CREDLAND. 

Superintendent OF Branches -LAWRENCE DILLON. 
Assistant Librarian, Reference Library— ERNEST AXON. 

ILtbradans of tbe :Krancb %ibxaxics. 

Deansgate— EMILY TATTON. 
Longsight— RUTH A. BENTLEY. 
Newton Heath— JANE FINNEY. 
Openshaw— GEORGE JONES. 
Rochdale Road-BLANCHE TWITTY. 

OF The ^ 






BOUT fifty years ago there began in Man- 
chester, and finally spread throughout the 
country, a strong and enthusiastic agitation 
for educational reform. The Lancashire 
Public School Association, and soon afterwards the 
National Public School Association, were formed, v/ith the 
object of making elementary education secular and free. 
Their members worked hard and earnestly, but, as is often 
the case with any important political reform, the attainment 
of the desired result was long delayed. At length, more 
than twenty years after the beginning of the movement, 
the main points of the Manchester scheme of education, 
with the addition of compulsory attendance at school at 
the option of the local authorities, were embodied in the 
Elementary Education Bill of 1870, and became the law 
of the land. 


Simultaneously with this development of public 
opinion in regard to education, and springing naturally 
from it, there arose a desire for the establishment of 
institutions calculated to have a more or less direct 
educational influence, which should resemble the contem- 
plated education in being free, and should help to carry to 
a higher point and riper perfection the instruction gained 
in the schools. Amongst the proposed institutions were 
free Museums, Art Galleries, and Libraries. Taking 
advantage of the public feeling, Mr. William Ewart intro- 
duced into Parliament, in 1850, a "Bill for enabling Town 
Councils to establish Public Libraries and Museums." 
The Bill was not compulsory, and allowed the local 
authorities to levy for the proposed purposes only a half- 
penny in the pound on the annual value of the rateable 
property in the district. Even of this sum nothing was 
to be spent in the purchase of books. This most cautious 
measure, with its singular restrictions, was passed into law 
in August, 1850. Almost immediately, at the suggestion 
of John Watts, Ph.D., the question of the establishment 
of a Public Library in Manchester was discussed by a 
number of influential men, one of the most active spirits 
being Mr. (afterwards Sir) John Potter, who was then 

He headed a subscription for the promotion of this 
design and the sum of ^^"4,300 was secured before 
any appeal was made to the public. The Hall of 
Science, in Campfield, having been purchased for the 
purpose of conversion into a library, a public meeting 
was called therein on January 8th, 1851, with the 
object of informing the ratepayers on the move- 
ment and its progress, and of securing the establishment 
of a Public Library and Museum. At this meeting 
Mr. Potter, occupied the chair, and the late Dr. James 


Prince Lee, Bishop of Manchester, Dr. G. H. Bowers, 
Dean of Manchester, Rev. John Gooch Robberds, Mr. 
Joseph Brotherton, M.P., Mr. (afterwards Sir) Thomas 
Bazley, John Watts, and other gentlemen, spoke in 
favour of the proposal, and a committee, with Dr. John 
Watts and John Leigh, M.R.C.S., as secretaries, was 
appointed to carry on the work. 

In the course of his able and sympathetic speech 
Mr. Joseph Brotherton said : 

It was sometimes said that the people do not know 
their best interests, and are apt to misunderstand their 
duties ; but it might be said that if they sometimes 
misunderstood them, they might not be acquainted with 
them, and therefore it was most important that they 
should be instructed. He thought, also, that the wealthy 
required a better instruction as well as the masses of the 
community. They required to be taught what the 
people think, what is really their best interest, and he 
was quite certain that the wealthy of this neighbourhood 
had no stronger interest than in endeavouring to cultivate 
the minds of the great masses of the people. The 
great mass of the people were certainly endeavouring to 
acquire power, and must, to a considerable extent, 
influence public proceedings. It was, therefore, of the 
greatest importance that public opinion should be 
enlightened, where it had so much power in making 
the laws ; and, therefore, on every ground it was the 
interest of the community to encourage public libraries 
and museums. Of what use was it that persons should 
learn to read unless they have the opportunity of having 
books which they may read ? We might complain of 
the working classes being misled, but when they had the 
opportunity of going to a well selected library, and 
of obtaining all the information that is necessary for 
their government, of course their minds would be 
opened, they would see their real interest, and this 
would tend to promote the general prosperity of the 

The first efforts of the Committee were directed to 
the adaptation of the building to the required purpose. 


and to canvassing for further subscriptions. The sub- 
scriptions eventually reached the large sum of ;^ 12,823, 
of which about ;^8oo was raised by a working men's 
committee, with Mr. W. J. Paul as secretary. Whilst these 
efforts were in active progress the purchase of books was 
entrusted to Mr. James Crossley, President of the Chetham 
Society, and Mr. Edward Edwards, of the British 
Museum, who had been selected to fill the post of chief 
librarian. Books to the number of 18,000 were bought, 
by an expenditure of ^^4,150, and about 3,300 volumes 
were presented. Efforts were also made to obtain from 
Government a grant of the books printed at the public 
expense, and presumably, therefore, for the public 
enlightenment ; but they met with imperfect success, and 
though the requests have from time to time been repeated, 
such a grant has never, save in a very partial manner, been 

In selecting the works intended to form the reference 
library two or three principal objects were kept in view. 
One of these was the creation of a department of 
Commerce, Trade, and Manufactures; and another that of 
forming a collection of material relative to Local History, 
and of books locally printed, or written by natives of the 
city. The result was that when the library was opened 
to the public the commercial collection numbered over 
7,000 works, and the local one more than 500. These 
efforts have never been relaxed, one valuable outcome 
being that the library now possesses an unrivalled wealth 
of local literature. 

In July, 1852, the Mayor brought the question of the 
adoption of the Libraries Act before the Town Council, 
and having obtained its consent, the opinion of the rate- 
payers was sought for by a poll. This was taken on the 20th 
August, when the voting showed 3,962 for and 40 against 


the adoption of the Act, out of a register of 12,500 


Three days before the meetings held to celebrate the 

opening of the library, Prince Albert sent a donation of 

eighteen handsome volumes, with a letter addressed to the 

Mayor, as follows : — 

Osborne, August 25th, 1852. 
My dear Sir,— As the time for the opening of the 
Manchester Free Library is drawing near, I am com- 
manded by His Royal Highness the Prince Albert to 
repeat to you his regret at not having been able to accept 
your invitation to be present at this interesting ceremony. 
In order, however, not to let the day pass without some 
testimony of the sincere interest which His Royal High- 
ness feels in your undertaking, he has caused a collection 
to be made of some works, which he trusts may prove of 
interest and of use to those who may wish to study them ; 
and His Royal Highness desires that they may be freely 
accessible to persons of all classes without distinction. 
His Royal Highness directs me to express his gratifi- 
cation at seeing Manchester taking the lead, as in many 
other valuable improvements, in giving practical appli- 
cation to that recent but important act of the Legislature, 
which has recognised, for the first time, the supply of 
food for the mind as among those necessaries which in 
this country are so amply and beneficially supplied to the 
community by rates, in the different localities voluntarily 
imposed upon the property. His Royal Highness hopes f 
that the example thus nobly set by Manchester, and < 
which His Royal Highness knows that you have per- 
sonally so zealously promoted, will be extensively 
followed throughout the country. The books will be 
despatched by railway at the same time as this letter. 
Believe me, my dear Sir, sincerely yours, 

C. B. Phipps. 


The inaugural meetings were held on September 2nd, 

1852, in the Library Building, in Campfield. When Sir 

John Potter took the chair at the morning ceremony it 

was for him a proud moment He had worked hard and 


earnestly in the promotion of the Institution, it had 
become to him the profoundest interest of his public life, 
and his labour had now reached a gratifying and noble 
fruition. With him on the platform were Mr. Thos. Barnes 
then Mayor of Manchester, Sir Edward L. Bulwer Lytton, 
Mr. F. Ashton, Mayor of Salford, R. Monckton Milnes 
(afterwards Lord Houghton), John Bright, M.P., Charles 
Knight, the publisher, W.M.Thackeray, Peter Cunningham, 
editor and historian, James Crossley, Frank Stone, artist, 
W. H. Wills, dramatist, the Earls of Shaftesbury and 
-^ Wilton, Charles Dickens, Sir James Stephen, Mr. (after- 
wards Sir) William Brown, of Liverpool, as well as most 
of the early promoters mentioned as taking part in the 
preliminary meeting of January, 185 1. 

After reading a report prepared by Mr. Edward 
Edwards, detailing the history of the institution up to that 
moment. Sir John Potter made a characteristic speech, 
saying among other things : 

I think we may congratulate the town of Manchester 
on possessing an institution which promises to be one of 
so much future usefulness. I am quite certain that we 
may most sincerely and most warmly congratulate the 
ladies and gentlemen who are present, and who are 
inhabitants of Manchester, that this institution has been 
deemed worthy of the support of the distinguished noble- 
men and gentlemen whom I have the honour to find 
around me on this occasion. The Committee of the 
Free Library have undoubtedly had a good and generous 
object in view in their labours. I can speak most 
positively to the effect that no personal objects, and no 
private motives have been attempted to be served in the 
establishment of this institution. We have been animated 
solely by the desire to benefit our poorer fellow-creatures. 
We have felt that the poorer classes of Manchester have 
shown themselves to be well worthy of any sacrifice 
which may be made by their wealthier fellow-citizens for 
their improvement, for their moral and intellectual 
advancement. Many of us have lived long in Manchester 


and have witnessed the conduct of the working classes 
in times of difficulty and trial ; and also at the present 
time of, I may say, universal prosperity and comfort. We 
have seen the working-classes when their passions have 
been inflamed, when they have been suffering from severe 
and protracted distress. We have seen the patience with 
which they have borne their sufferings, and the admirable 
manner in which the great body of that class has support- 
ed the authority of the law. We have found them on 
all occasions, I believe, ready to aid authority,— I speak, 
of course, of the great body of the working classes, — in 
the maintenance of order and the public peace of the 
town. . . . Recognising then, the good conduct of the 
working classes, it is the duty of those who are more 
favoured by fortune than they, to do everything in their 
power to afford additional means of education and 
advancement to those classes. We have seen an effort 
made by the working classes themselves for the establish- 
ment of such an institution. Those who will not help 
themselves deserve not help from others ; and the 
greatest confidence that we can have in the future 
w. 11 -working of this institution is in the fact that 
those for whose special benefit it was founded, have 
shared in the expenses incurred by its establishment; 
and, I believe most firmly, the Public Library of 
Manchester will be valued the more, because ever}^ year 
each ratepayer will be called upon to devote his mite, 
though it be a very small mite indeed, for the maintenance 
of that institution. Some people are inclined to maintain, 
and I believe with considerable truth, that people do not 
value things that are mere gifts to them. I think it 
a great satisfaction to see that an effort of this kind, 
made, certainly, in a large and important community, 
should be recognised, valued, sanctioned, approved, and 
promoted, by those who are eminent in the ranks of our 
statesmen ; and by those who occupy so important a 
position in England in reference to our literature, in 
reference to science, and the arts. I think we have great 
reason to be proud that Lord Shaftesbury, that Lord 
Wilton, that the Lord Bishop of Manchester, who from 
the first has done his utmost to promote our scheme, 
that our friend Sir Edward Bulwer Lytton, that Mr. 
Charles Dickens, that Mr. Thackeray, that our friends of 
the Guild of Literature and Art, that the members of 


Parliament for various important localities, should have 
^ thought it worth their while, by their presence to sanction 
and approve of the opening of this institution. As an 
individual, I am sure that I feel under the deepest 
obligations to those noble lords and gentlemen, and I 
am quite certain that I may take upon myself, speaking 
for the community of Manchester (and I think I have 
recently in connection with this institution been vested 
with something like a right to speak for the community 
of Manchester, when I said that I believed that the 
popular voice was in favour of such an institution as this, 
and the response to our appeal was, that not one in a 
hundred could be found that had a word to say against 
it, or that dared to say anything against it), to thank 
these noble lords and gentlemen for their kindness on 
this occasion. 

In his Free Town Libraries^ Mr. Edward Edwards 
says : 

But the crowning honour was the presence of three 
masters of Literature — Charles Dickens,W. M.Thackeray, 
and Lord Lytton. Each of these eminent writers 
expressed himself characteristically. Thackeray — who 
could utter such brilliant and incisive sayings across 
the social dinner-table — was never at his ease in speechi- 
fying at a public meeting ; and on this occasion the 
sight of 20,000 volumes seemed to appal him more than 
that of the few hundreds of auditors. The surrounding 
books appeared to excite such a crowd of thoughts in 
his mind that their very number aiid hurry impeded 
their outlet. Enough was heard to make one feel that 
what he had to say was excellent, yet he could not say 
it. He sat down in great emotion, and with an un- 
finished sentence on his lips. 

He seconded the resolution moved by Dickens given in 
the report of his speech which follows, and this is all he said : 

Sir John Potter, ladies, and gentlemen. The cause is so 
good, and the advocate that you have heard upon it has 
addressed you with an eloquence so noble and so heart- 
stirring, that it is useless for me to do anything 
more than to second him with all my heart, and to leave 
the case in the hands of this great jury. Of course, 
ladies and gentlemen, among the many sanitary and 
social reforms which every man interested in the public 


welfare is now anxious to push forward, the great 
measure of books will not be neglected ; and we 
look to this, as much as we look to air, or as we look to 
light or to water, for benefiting our poor. If books do 
soothe, and cheer, and console — if books do enlighten, 
and enliven, and fortify — if they do make sorrow bearable 
to us. or teach us to forget or to endure it, — if they do 
create in us harmless tears or happy laughter, — if they 
do bring forth in us that peace and that feeling of good- 
will of which Mr. Dickens spoke but now, and which 
anybody who reads his books must have felt has come 
from them, surely we will not grudge these inestimable 
blessings to the poorest of our friends ; but will try, 
with all our might, to dispense their cheap but precious 
benefits over all. Of the educated mechanics, of course, 
it is not my business to speak, or even my wish to 
pretend to be an instructor. Those who know the 
educated mechanics of this vast city, or of this empire, 
are aware that they are in the habit of debating the 
greatest literary and political questions among them- 
selves; that they have leisure to think and talent to speak 
much greater than that of other men who may be obliged, 
like myself, to appear for a moment before you ; they 
have their poets and their philosophers ; their education 
is very much changed from that of a hundred years ago, 
when, if you remember, Hogarth represented the idle 
mechanic as occupied with ' Moll Flanders,' and the 
good mechanic as having arrived at reading the history 
of that good apprentice who was made Lord Mayor of 
London. The mechanics of our days have got their 
Carlyles to read, their Dickens on the shelf, and their 
Bulwers by the side of them. It is now to the very poor, 
to the especially poor, that this resolution we have 
before us applies ; and I am sure you will use your 
endeavours to meet the purpose for which it is intended, 
and to carry the contents of your volumes among the 
cottages, the garrets, and the cellars. I am aware, 
gentlemen, that in such a vast collection the sort of 
works which I am in the habit of writing can but 
occupy a very small space. I know that our novels ar6 
but what we may call the tarts for the people ; wherea^ 
history is bread, and science is bread, and historical and\ 
spiritual truth are that upon which they must be fed. 
And as everyone knows that with every fresh book that 



is written a new desire springs up for better and better 
reading, I feel sure that your attempt to open hitherto 
inaccessible means of acquiring knowledge will be 
attended with complete success. — I beg to second the 

His nearest rival in the realm of fiction, Dickens, 
was, on the other hand, perfectly at his ease. He caused 
a roar of laughter by a pathetic account of the toils he 
had encountered in striving, during several years, to 
understand the meaning of the current phrase, ' the 
Manchester School' He had run up and down imploring 
explanation. Some people assured him that it was ' all 
cant,' and others were equally confident that it was ' all 
cotton.' But in that room his doubts were suddenly 
dispelled, 'The Manchester School,' he now saw, was 
a library of books, as open to the poorest as to the 
richest. His speech is thus reported : 

I have been so much in the habit, within the last 
fortnight, of relying upon the words of other people, 
that I find it quite a novel sensation to be here de- 
pendent solely upon my own. I assure you I feel at 
this moment in imminent danger of sliding into the 
language of my friend who addressed you last [Lord 
Lytton] and from the mere force of habit I rather miss 
the prompter. For this reason and many others I shall 
trouble you with a very short speech indeed, in pro- 
posing the resolution with which I have the honour to 
be entrusted. It so perfectly expresses my feelings and 
hopes, my convictions in association with this auspicious 
day, that I cannot do better than read it to you at 
once : — 

That as in this institution, special provision has 

been made for the working classes, by means of 

a free lending library, this meeting cherishes the 

earnest hope that the books thus made available 

will prove a source of pleasure and improvement 

^ in the cottages, the garrets, and the cellars of 

the poorest of our people. 

Limiting what I shall say on this subject to two 

very brief heads, I would beg to observe firstly that I 


have been made happy, since I have been sitting here 
by the solution of a problem which has long perplexed 
me. I have seen so many references made in news- 
papers, parliamentary debates, and elsewhere to the 
'Manchester School' that I have long had a considerable 
anxiety to know what that phrase might mean, and 
what the Manchester School might be. My natural 
curiosity on this head has not been diminished by the 
very contradictory accounts I have received respecting 
that same School ; some great authorities assuring me 
that it was a very good one, some that it was a very bad 
one ; some that it was very broad and comprehensive ; 
some that it was very narrow and limited ; some that 
it was ' all cant,' and some that it was ' all cotton.' Now 
I have solved this difficulty by finding here to-day that 
the Manchester School is a great free school bent on 
carrying instruction to the poorest hearths. It is this 
great free school inviting the humblest workman to 
come in and be a student — this great free school 
munificently endowed by voluntary subscriptions in an 
incredibly short space of time — starting upon its 
glorious career with twenty thousand volumes of books 
— knowing no sect, no party, and no distinction ; 
nothing but the public want and the public good. 
Henceforth this building shall represent to me) 
the Manchester School, and I pray to heaven, moreover, 
that many great towns and cities, and many high 
authorities may go to school a little in the Manchester,- 
Seminary and profit by the noble lesson that it teaches. 
In the second and last place allow me to observe that 
like my friend Sir Edward Lytton, I exceedingly regret 
my inability to attend that other interesting meeting in 
the evening. I should have rejoiced to have seen in 
this place instead of myself, and to have heard in this 
place instead of my voice, the voice of a working man of 
Manchester, to tell the projectors of this spirited 
enterprise with what feelings he and his companions 
regard their great and generous recognition here. I 
should have rejoiced to hear from such a man, in the 
solid and nervous language in which I have often heard 
such men give utterance to the feelings of their breasts, 
how he knows that the books stored here for his behalf 
will cheer him through the struggles and toils of his 
life — will raise him in his self respect — will teach him 


that capital and labour are not opposed, but are mutually 
dependent and mutually supporting — will enable him to 
tread down blinding prejudices, corrupt misrepresent- 
ations, and everything but the truth into the dust. I 
have long been in my sphere a zealous advocate for the 
diffusion of knowledge amongst all classes and conditions 
of men — because I do believe with all the strength and 
might with which I am capable of believing anything, 
that the more a man knows the more amply and with 
the more faithful spirit he comes back to the fountain of 
all knowledge, and takes to his heart the great and 
sacred precept ' on earth peace, goodwill towards men.' 
And well assured am I that that great precept, and 
those other things I have hinted at as pleasant to have 
heard here to-day from a working man, will rise higher 
and higher above the beating of hammers, the roar of 
wheels, the rattle of machinery, and the rush of water, 
and be more and more clearly felt through every 
pulsation of this great heart, the better known and used 
this institution is. 

No speech uttered at the meeting contained words 
weightier or better worth remembering and pondering 
over than those of Lord Lytton, who said : 

In rising to second the proposition ' That this meet- 
ing witnesses with great satisfaction the opening 
ceremony of the Manchester Free Library, and desires to 
express its entire confidence that this noble institution 
will effect great and lasting good to the community for 
generations to come,' which has been placed before you in 
such eloquent and touching terms by the Earl of Shaftes- 
bury, I am reminded that there was once a Scottish 
peasant who having raised himself to a rank in the eyes of 
posterity beyond that of ordinary princes, desired also to 
raise the whole class which he ennobled in the scale of 
intellectual nobility, and was the first to institute 
libraries for the people in the rural districts of Scotland. 
That peasant was Robert Burns, the poet ; and when I 
look around this noble hall, and this large assembly, 
when I know that behind me are the contributions that 
come from the palaces of your kings ; when I see that 
next to me is one of our most revered dignitaries of the 
church ; when I see beyond me the representatives of some 


of the loftiest houses of our aristocracy ; and when I look 
upon either side,and know that you have presentalso repre- 
sentatives of the orders of literature and art ; and when 
I look before me and see an array that I confess awes 
and dazzles me more than all — composed of those who 
are never absent where good is to be done, — I own I do 
wish that Burns could have foreseen what a magnificence 
you have given to his idea. You, Sir John Potter, 
whose name, when I first entered public life, as borne by 
your late lamented uncle, I identified with beneficence 
and public spirit, — you, in whom I now find that these 
virtues are hereditary and transmitted ; and you, the 
princely merchants and manufacturers of Manchester, 
you have indeed taken up the idea of the peasant, and 
you have given it life from the warmth of your own 
generous hearts. I confess that you do appear to me 
to deserve the praise which was implied in the letter of 
His Royal Highness Prince Albert, for you have 
not contented yourselves with the compulsory rate 
which obliges you to provide for physical poverty, 
but you have voluntarily contributed to diffuse 
amongst the poor the means of intellectual wealth. I 
confess, however, that there are two things which I value 
still more than even this library itself, and the one is, 
the generous spirit of emulation with which the poor 
have co-operated with you for their own improvement ; 
and next, the proof you have given that you sympathise 
with all that can elevate and instruct the classes whose 
industry you employ. So that this library is a new, 
an enduring, and a truly conservative link between your 
wealth and their labour, between the manufacturer 
and the operative, for every time that the operative shall 
come into this library he will feel that you have invited 
knowledge to be the impartial arbiter between all the 
duties of property and all the rights of labour. The 
other day I asked the enlightened minister of the United 
States what was the heaviest rate in America ; and he 
told m^e, rather to my surprise, that the poor-rate in some 
of the towns was almost as heavy as it is in this country ; 
but he said that the largest rate, and the most general, 
was a rate for the purpose of education ; and that, said 
he, is a rate we never grumble at, because it is in 
education that we find the principle of our safety. But, 
gentlemen, education does not cease when we leave 


school. Education, rightly considered, is the work of a 
life, and libraries are the schoolrooms of grown-up men. 
I was exceedingly touched and affected when, the other 
day, almost upon my entrance into your borough, I was 
taken by my friend and amiable host, Sir Elkanah 
Armitage, to see the library and museum at Peel Park, 
which I believe owes as much to the philanthropy of my 
excellent friend, Mr. Brotherton, as this library owes to 
Sir John Potter. I was moved and affected when I saw 
so many intelligent young faces bending over books 
with such earnest attention, and when I felt what a 
healthful stimulus had replaced the old English excite- 
ments of the ale house and the gin palace. I do wish 
that I could have been present at the meeting this 
evening, when I believe that the mechanics and 
operatives themselves will be here. I might have 
had much to say to them as to the direction of their 
studies, which I should not presume for a moment to 
venture to an assembly like the present ; but I hope that 
later, at some other occasion, I may be able to attend 
such a meeting, composed of those for whose benefit this 
library is principally intended, and that as one who for 
many years has had little to do but to read, I may offer 
them some suggestions as to the art of reading. I 
confess, gentlemen, that I do feel a most anxious, and I 
may say a solemn interest in the uses which may be made 
of this mighty arsenal. I call it an arsenal, for books are 
weapons, whether for war or for self-defence ; and per- 
haps the principles of chivalry are as applicable to the 
student now as they were to the knight of old to defend 
the weak, to resist the oppressor, to unite humility with 
courage, give to man the service, and to heaven the glory. 
These are the duties to which the student should pledge 
himself when he takes up the weapons and puts on the 
armour. What minds may be destined to grow up and 
flourish under the shade of this tree of knowledge which 
you have now planted, none of us can conjecture ; but 
you of the present generation have nobly done your 
duty, and may calmly leave the result to time, sure that 
you have placed, beside the sorrows and cares and 
passions of this common sensual life, the still monitors 
that instruct our youth, that direct our manhood, and 
comfort our old age. Far beyond the sphere of our 
daily labour you have opened the gates of that world 


which, h'ke the divine poem of our own Milton, goes back 
to the infancy of creation, and forward to the promise of 
an infinite hereafter; so that I may say to those students 
whom this hbrary will call forth and create — I may say 
to them, almost in the very words with which that poem 
concludes : — 

That world is all before you, where to choose 
Your place of rest. Be Providence your guide. 

Mr. R. Monckton Milnes, many of whose poems 
have now become familiar possessions treasured of all 
those whose hearts are gentle and pure and warm with 
human love and sympathy, seems to have possessed 
the eye of a seer when he said that he had been much 
impressed by the statement that books were more sought 
after and read by the artisan when he was not in full 
employment, and that he saw in this something more than 
met the eye. The actual working of the Public Libraries 
has proved this to be an infallible truth, and a sure gauge 
of the prosperity, or adverse circumstances of the 
industrial community, and even of the nation. An extract 
from his speech may not be without interest. He said : 

I think it impossible to overrate the political utility 
of such an institution as this. Think what a book 
is — what each one of these volumes is. It is a portion of 
the eternal mind, caught in its process through the world, 
stamped in an instant, and preserved for eternity. Think 
what it is ; that enormous amount of human sympathy 
and intelligence that is contained in these volumes ; and 
think what it is that this sympathy should be communi- 
cated to the masses of the people. Compare the state of 
the man who is really well acquainted with the whole 
past of literature upon the subject on which he is speak- 
ing, and with which his mind is embued, with that of the 
solitary artisan, upon whom perhaps the light of genius 
has dawned in some great truth — in some noble aspira- 
tion, in some high idea — resting there, unable to accom- 
plish itself, unable to realise its meaning, and probably 
ending in nothing but discontent or despair. Compare 
the state of that man, such as he would be without books, 


with what that man might be with books, so that it is 
only books that can save him from the most exaggerated 
conclusions, from the falsest doctrines, and all those evils 
which may damage and even destroy the masses of 
mankind. It is only, remember, what lies in these books 
that makes all the difference between the wildest 
socialism that ever passed into the mind of a man in this 
hall, and the deductions and careful processes of the 
mind of the student who will sit at these tables — who 
will learn humility by seeing what others have taught 
before him ; and who will gain from the sympathy of 
ages, intelligence and sense for himself Therefore, I 
believe that this is one of the chief matters for which we 
shall be proud and glad of this institution. I believe, 
too, that even in the mere and more material form it 
will be of the greatest advantage to this population. In 
the committee of the House of Commons, on which I sat, 
and of which a gentleman whose name should not go 
unmentioned in this hall, Mr. Ewart, was chairman — and 
a most indefatigable and zealous chairman he was — in 
that committee, among the great amount of evidence 
brought before us I am not aware that any one sen- 
tence touched me more than the evidence given, if I 
remember rightly, by some person intimately connected 
with the manufacturing districts, that books were a good 
deal more sought for and read by artisans when they 
had short time and less work than when they were in 
full employment. I own I thought that I saw in this 
something more than met the eye. I saw that it was 
possible for the artisan not enjoying the full produce of his 
strength and his labour, to find at least some consolation 
for the increased difficulties and self-denial to which he 
was subject in communing with the minds of others 
through the various channels of literature, and deriving 
perhaps comfort and advantage for himself in seeing 
how other men had toiled and suffered before him, and 
beginning to hope for the future time by seeing how 
full of glorious prospects this world is for the good and 
the industrious man. 

The meeting held in the evening was intended to 
consist chiefly of the working classes, and although there 


were many others present the industrial element was 
strongly and enthusiastically represented. Sir John Potter 
again occupied the chair, and many of the gentlemen who 
had taken part in the previous proceedings were present, 
together with several members of the committee of 
working men which had been appointed to obtain sub- 
scriptions in aid of the establishment of the Library. 

The proceedings were opened by Mr. W. J. Paul, the 
secretary to the Working Men's Committee, reading the 
following report : 

Report of the Working Men's Committee of 
THE Manchester Free Library, 185 1-2. 

Mr. Chairman, Ladies, and Gentlemen, 

The working Men's Committee appointed to pro- 
mote a Subscription in the Warehouses, Mills, Manufac- 
tories, and Workshops of the borough and its Vicinity in 
aid of the Funds for Establishing the Manchester Free 
Library, now closing its Labours, takes this opportunity 
of presenting its report. 

The first meeting of this Committee was held at the 
Town Hall of Manchester, on Tuesday evening, the 
nth of February, i85i,and at that time Subscriptions 
had been received by the General Committee from 
several Factories, Workshops^ &c., amounting to about 
^35 OS. od., and it was then evident that a considerable 
number of the working Classes felt a deep and earnest 
Interest in the Establishment of the proposed Institution, 
fully convinced of its future success, and having no 
doubt of the Beneficial Influence it would exercise upon 
men of all Classes, especially upon the Artizans. 

But it was also apparent that comparatively little 
aid could be thus obtained unless some special organiza- 
tion was provided for the purpose of diffusing Informa- 
tion on the subject, and of Instituting an active canvas 
for donations. Hence the origin of the Working Man's 

Since that period the Committee has held 82 
Meetings at which a weekly report of the progress of 



Subscriptions has been made, and printed Forms for the 
Entry of Subscribers names have been issued to parties 
who consented to receive them and promised to promote 
the object, which consent had been previously obtained 
either by the Agent of the Committee or the personal 
Canvas of Individual Members. 

In this manner 882 Subscription Sheets have been 
issued to 227 different Establishments in the Borough 
and its vicinity, and which may be briefly classified 
thus : — 

Machinists, Builders, Mills & Manufactories, Ware- 
houses and Curriers, Friendly Societies orders, &c., 
Sunday Schools, and Mutual Improvement Societies. 

And sums collected by the Committee from Private 

The various items collected from these sources are as 
follow : — 

£ s. d. 

From d^ Establishments of Machinists 
and Builders -------- 

From 83 Manufactories and Mills - 

From 54 Warehouses and Carriers - ■ 

From 14 Friendly Societies Orders, &c., 

&c. ----------- 132 o 6 

From 10 Sunday Schools, and Mutual 

Improvement Societies - - - - 37 3 7 

And sums collected by the Committee 

from private Individuals - - - - 62 16 3 

813 18 o 
The aggregate amount of subscriptions thus obtained 
since the nth of February, 185 1, is ;^773 9s. lod., in 
addition to a sum of ^39 14s. 2d., contributed by parties 
who did not take canvasing sheets but hearing that the 
working Classes were contributing their mites and duly 
impressed with the Stirling advantages to be derived 
from such an Institution very kindly put the matter 
before the notice of several Trade Societies, &c., from 
whom the Committee received the before named sum 
without in some instances even being sought after. In 
addition also to the two sums before mentioned 
with that of ^35 os. od. previously collected Make the 
Total Amount subscribed by the Industrial Classes, 
^813 1 8s. od. 











The exact i-uumber of Subscribers cannot be stated 
with precision, but may be safely estimated at 22,000. 

This being a brief Summary of the proceedings of 
the Working Men's committee they would before drawing 
its history to a close express their most grateful and 
sincere thanks to the Chairman and the general Com- 
mittee for the active and energetic Labour they have 
bestowed on the Institution ; who not only have ren- 
dered an efficient Service by contributing their hand- 
some donations along with other Gentlemen, but also 
shown how deeply they have sympathized in the 
elevation and refinement of the Working Classes by 
giving so much of their Valuable time and counsil 
towards the carrying out of this most desirable object, 
no doubt fully impressed with the assurance that in- 
creased information will be the surest guide in establishing 
a spirit of Unanimity amongst the Working Classes 
and by so doing raise the Character of the operative to 
his true position in society and teach him to discriminate 
between Right and Working good and evil. There 
cannot be a doubt that the promoters of this Noble 
Institution are duly sensible that Each Department will 
fully sustain its Character as an efficient Agent in the 
social and mental Improvement of those for whom it 
was designed, tending as it must do to the Elevation of 
our Race in spreading peace on earth and good will 
towards men, thus inculcating a higher Standard of 
Morality which will indeed benefit all mankind. The 
Committee in concluding this report beg to offer their 
grateful acknowledgement to those of their fellow 
Townsmen who have kindly assisted them in Canva3sing 
their several places of Employment and using their 
Influence in aid of the object which the Committee hope 
they will now have the pleasure to enjoy, but though it 
highly appreciates the services thus rendered it cannot 
but regret the Lukewarm feeling and very great coldness 
with which a many of their fellow workmen have 
received their addresses and even refused to contribute 
their mite towards the consumation of this great object. 
The committee are fully assured that those who have 
felt an Interest in this cause may now avail themselves 
of the Facilities for Instruction which the Manchester Free 
Library will afford, and it will be with the satisfaction of 
knowing that they are about to reap the Fruit of 


Labours in which they and the Committee have borne 
some share Thus enriching their mental capabilities 
with that stock of useful knowledge which all men should 
be in possession of The purposes of such an Edifice as 
Manchester can now boast of, and the property within its 
walls the Committee hope will tempt men to shun those 
haunts of Vice, Wretchedness, and degradation, those dens 
of Infamy and shame which not only tend to brutalize 
man's nature, but blunt and harden those finer qualities, 
those God like feelings with which all men's minds should 
be endued. But they hope to see this room thronged with 
eager readers in search of some hidden truth, and to 
imprint with an indellible impression upon their minds 
some of the Physical Laws which govern the universe. 
For here may the Mechanic, Architect, and Builder (with 
the matter which is at their command) enrich their 
Intellect by the solution of some new problem or wrestle 
from the dark chaos of mystery some fresh and vivid 
Idea, which may enhance the physical qualities of their 
labour. Here may the poet, philosopher, and politician 
find invigorating food for the mind by revelling in all the 
sublimity of thought and Grandeur of Ideas expounded 
to us by those who have left behind them immortal 
records of admonition which no time can obliterate. Let 
it be remembered that there is no Earthly treasure (save 
health) that can out-value a mind replete with practical 
knowledge and information. There is no reverse of 
fortune can rob the labourer of that precious Gem a 
sound and Intelligent mind. Here then is an endearing 
consolation for the poor man to fall upon when all the 
Bright and Glowing Scenes of this world shall have 
faded from his view and left his body prostrated and en- 
feebled ; his spirit may again revive when he shall 
think that there is yet left in this life all that he may 
require to know for the well-being of his present and 
future existence to make him that which Divine ordina- 
tion intended he should be The reflective, intellectual, 
and moral man. Nothing can be more conducive to the 
prosperity of a Nation than the refined understanding of 
a Moral and Intelligent people, ever bearing in remem- 
brance that the sole end and aim of their existence 
here should be to leave this World better than they 
found it. 

This, Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, concludes 


our brief History, and trusting that it may be accepted 
with the same views that it is most respectfully offered. 

I now beg to present this report on behalf of 
The Working Men's Committee of the Manchester 
Free Library. 

Wm. Jas. Paul. 
September 2nd, 1852. 

Amongst the speakers were the Bishop of Manchester, 
the Earl of Shaftestkiry, John Bright, M.P. for Manchester, 
W. M. Thackeray, the Rev. Dr. Robert Vaughan, Joseph 
Brotherton, M.P., R. Monckton Milnes, and Dr. John 
Watts. John Bright made a speech not unworthy of the 
great tribune, and some of its more memorable thoughts 
here follow : 

From the moment when the project of this library 
was first launched by our respected Chairman, I must 
admit that its name alone had a great charm to my 
mind. A library in itself, if you come to think of it, 
conveys a whole world to the mind. The worst of a 
great and good library is this : That it creates cravings 
in an intelligent mind which time and opportunity 
during life seem never to allow us wholly to satisfy. 
In this very room you have a collection of books which, 
if monarchs were great readers, which I believe they are 
not very often found to be, monarchs themselves might 
envy. You have here all that can please the imagination 
in the best works of fiction and in works of poesy. You 
have here books of science which will show you the steps 
by which every well-employed and fairly-paid man in 
Manchester at this moment is a partaker of numerous 
comforts which were denied to the nobles and the richest 
of the land, but two or three centuries ago. You have 
books too of history, which point out to you succinctly the 
stages by which nations have risen, and by which — and it 
is a melancholy picture — many nations have fallen. You 
can learn whereby statesmen and monarchs have done 
well for those over whom they ruled ; and many, many 
cases, in which there have been calamities to the countries 
over which they unhappily had sw^ay. You have another 
class of books ; and if I were permitted to ask your 
attention to one class especially, it would be to that class 


which gives you, not so much directly the history of 
nations, as the history of those great and good men, — for 
none are truly great who are not good — whose lives 
illustrate the history of the various nations of the world. 
To young men especially, I would recommend the study 
of works of biography. Unfortunately it is the class of 
reading which is probably accomplished the least ably 
and satisfactorily ; but still there are in this library scores, 
and probably hundreds of admirable works of biography, 
which you may read with the greatest benefit ; and I may 
say for myself, that there is no description of reading from 
which I rise, as I can myself discover, more improved by 
the reading I have been engaged in, than when I rise 
from the study of the biography of great and good men. 
But this library is a free library. There is in the very 
term something which is catching to many people ; but I 
love it because here it shows, that there is not only a great 
harmony among the various classes of this community, 
but that they who have subscribed the money for 
establishing this institution have the most undoubted faith 
that they can invite with propriety all classes, even the 
humblest of their fellow townsmen, to partake of the rich, 
the inexhaustible treat which is here provided for them ; 
knowing that the property now on their shelves will, 
in all probability, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred, 
be as much valued and taken care of in the cottage of 
the workman as in the mansion of the employer. There 
are two aspects with which I have been much impressed 
to-day in considering the operation and results of this 
library. First of all, with regard to its influence upon 
family comfort and happiness — my experience has con- 
vinced me that one main cause of the unhappiness which 
parents in all classes, and perhaps most among the 
humblest classes, suffer from the ill-doings or evil courses 
of their children, as they grow up — that one main cause 
of this is the absence of any pursuit for the mind, for the 
interest, and for the faculties of their children. I believe 
that if any working man could prevail upon his son, as 
he grew up, to devote his faculties in his leisure hours to 
any innocent and honourable pursuit — to the study of 
any science, to the reading of any particular branch of 
literature — if his mind could become so deeply interested 
that he was never satisfied with what he had learned, 
but always wanted to learn something more upon that 


particular question — there is scarcely anything, there is 
nothing but strong religious convictions — that is so 
likely to prevent such a youth from falling into evil 
courses, and become a source of degradation to himself 
and of unhappiness to his parents and friends. The 
other aspect is that which has already been briefly 
touched upon ; and it refers rather to the political and 
public results of institutions such as this. I am not now 
here, and should not for a moment think of doing such a 
thing, to introduce anything in the shape of a political 
question that could raise controversy ; but the fact need 
not be concealed that during the last twenty years there 
has been growing a power in this country that every day 
speaks in a more and more audible voice to the Govern- 
ment ; and whoever be in office, we find almost an equal 
deference to the plain and unmistakeable expression of 
the public will. Now, this is the aspect which appears 
to me almost the most important under which we 
can view this Free Library. Nothing can prevent 
political power being more and more spread among the 
people ; but it is of great consequence that in every man 
here, however humble his position, or any other man out 
of this place, as well as the richest and the highest, — 
that wherever political power is deposited, there should 
be w^isdom and virtue so to exercise it that this great 
country may remain not only great, but may become 
every year, and every generation, greater in all those 
things which go to ennoble a State, and to spread 
permanent happiness among a people Now, I regard 
this as a great day for Manchester. I think that we 
shall not hear hereafter of those dread suspicions in 
London, that there is some 'mine' in Manchester — I 
do not mean a gold mine, but a mine that is going to 
explode and turn the country into anarchy. Some 
twenty or thirty years ago, it was the custom to ask at 
Court, if anybody came from the North of England, 
'whether everything was quiet at Manchester.' Why 
everything is quiet in Manchester except the shuttles 
and the spindles, and the forges, and the minds of the 
people. There is no rest here for them. Allusion was 
made this morning to the teaching of this new ' Man- 
chester School' "Well, let us teach. We have thought 
some things, which almost all sensible men have agreed 
to be right and worth learning. Let us now, when all 


classes of this community have clubbed together their 
givings into one common fund to raise this institution 
let us now, if it be possible, fix for ourselves higher aims 
and attain nobler results than heretofore. I am satisfied 
that there are many men in this room who will live to 
bless the day, for themselves and their families, when 
this institution was opened. And those who come after 
us will look back with infinite and grateful satisfaction 
to the munificence, the intelligence, and the harmony, 
too, which prevailed among this community in the year 
1 8 152, when this institution was established. 

In his Yesterdays with Authors, Mr. James T. 
Fields, the American publisher, has preserved some enter- 
taining reminiscences of Thackeray's visit to Manchester 
on this occasion. That the great novelist was deeply 
impressed with the importance of the ceremony he was 
asked to participate in is as evident from these jottings 
as it is pleasing. He induced Mr. Fields to accompany 
him, and all the way from London he was, says Mr. 
Fields : 

Discoursing of certain effects he intended to produce 
on the Manchester dons by his eloquent appeals to 
their pockets. This passage was to have great in- 
fluence with the rich merchants, this with the clergy, and 
so on. He said that although Dickens and Buhver and 
Sir James Stephen, all eloquent speakers, were to 
precede him, he intended to beat each of them on this 
special occasion. He insisted that I should be seated 
directly in front of him, so that I should have the full 
force of his magic eloquence. . . . The three speeches 
which came before Thackeray was called upon were 
admirably suited to the occasion and most eloquently 
spoken. Sir John Potter, who presided, then rose, and, 
after some complimentary allusions to the author of 
Vanity Fair, introduced him to the crowd, who 
welcomed him with ringing plaudits. As he rose he 
gave me a half-wink from under his spectacles, as if to 
say, ' Now for it ; the others have done very well, but I 
will show 'em a grace beyond the reach of their art' 
He began in a clear and charming manner, and was 


absolutely perfect for three minutes. In the middle of 
a most earnest and elaborate sentence he suddenly 
stopped, gave a look of comic despair at the ceiling 
crammed both hands into his trousers pockets, and 
deliberately sat down. Everybody seemed to understand 
that it was one of Thackeray's unfinished speeches, and 
there were no signs of surprise or discontent among his 
audience. He continued to sit on the platform in a 
perfectly composed manner; and when the meeting 
was over he said to me without a sign of discomfiture, 
' My boy, you have my profoundest sympathy ; this day 
you have accidentally missed hearing one of the finest 
speeches ever composed for delivery by a great British 
orator.' And I never heard him mention the subject 

At the evening meeting, inspired doubtless by the 
presence of a representative body of that " great dumb 
mass " of the people which always had for Thackeray a 
peculiar fascination he asked permission to speak. The 
words he then said to the artisans of Manchester were 
intensely Thackerayean, and therefore worthy of preserva- 

Ladies and gentlemen, — I asked leave to address 
you, not because I know how to speak, but because I 
think I have something to say which arises out of the 
speeches we have heard just now delivered, in a very 
different strain, and in an eloquence much noblef and 
loftier than any that I can aspire to. You perhaps know 
that my calling in life is that of a maker of novels, a poor 
fabulist, whose good, so far as he can do it, is to represent 
the truth as ably as he can, and to find at the end of his 
work a moral for his fable. If I had to write a novel 
now, gentlemen, or to make a fable out of what is the 
reality, I would recur to books which, of course, I am in 
the habit of reading, as I am obliged to read them ; I 
would refer to some novels which a great number of 
you, I dare say, have read, and which I hope will never 
be upon any shelf of this library — I would refer to a 
very celebrated French novel, which some of you have 
seen, and a very celebrated English novel, which I know 
has been sold by tens of thousands throughout all the 


towns of the world. The novels bear the same title ; 
one is called Les Mysteres de Londres or The 
Mysteries of London ; that is the Parisian title ; and 
the title is the same, I believe, of the English one. In 
the Mysteres de Londres 1 found a comic story which 
I think has rather a serious moral connected with it. The 
famous French writer, who passed, I have no doubt, a 
fortnight in our metropolis, and who described our 
manners to a ' T ' afterwards, supposes himself at the 
Italian opera in London ; and he describes as seated in the 
omnibus box, my lord the Archbishop of Canterbur}' 
witnessing the ballet and delighting in the gyrations of 
the dancers ; while all his ecclesiastical business was per- 
formed by a curate with ;^200 a year. I pledge myself to 
the exactness of the quotation, if anyone will refer to the 
venerable work in question. With regard to the 
Mysteries of London, I have only twice in my life 
engaged in a perusal of a part of that astonishing 
romance. On the first occasion, going through Brighton, 
and passing by the Brighton Station, I purchased 
sixpennyworth of this profusely illustrated document ; 
and I found that all through the sixpennyworth 
the august, religious, and gracious King his late 
Majesty George IV., whom I mention, I need not 
say, in terms of the deepest respect and grief — his 
late Majesty George IV. was engaged, all through the 
sixpennyworth of numbers, in contriving the most 
atrocious schemes against the welfare of the female citi- 
zens of the middle and lower classes. I lost sight of that 
book for two years ; and again going upon the Brighton 
Railway — I indulged in sixpennyworth of the forbidden 
joy ; and after two years, I give you my honour, I found 
his late lamented Majesty George IV. still going on 
with the same atrocious games which had frightened me 
on the former occasion. And not only was the prince 
so engaged, but every nobleman of his court was similarly 
occupied in destroying the peace of mind of inferior 
parties around him ; and every knight was emulating 
every nobleman ; and, in fact, the whole upper world 
was supposed to be in an immense and corrupt conspiracy 
against the lower world, of which you and I form a part. 
The moral of the story, gentlemen, and of my fable, 
comes now — and has been spoken to you, I think, in the 
noblest and most generous language by the revered 


prelate and by the beloved nobleman who have just 
addressed you. Do you believe that these men are 
occupied in examining dancers from opera boxes, or in 
contriving ruin for ladies' maids ? Do you not believe 
that these men are honest as yourselves, generous as 
yourselves, friendly as yourselves, eager to help you, and 
eager to grasp the hand which I hope you are eager to 
tender to them ? I have passed many a year of my 
time as a liberal writer ; I am not going to recall the 
sentiments which have been uttered by me in former 
days, not all of them ; but, thank God, I have lost a 
great deal of the ill-feelings which I felt in former days ; 
thank God, that with a greater experience I have a 
greater charity ; and it is from this only — from my feeling 
that our cause, that your cause, my cause, and their 
cause, are in common, that I have dared to address you 


It should also not be permitted to pass unrecorded 
that a theme so rich in picturesque and impressive sugges- 
tiveness as the dedication to the public, for its free and 
unrestricted use for ever, of an ample and worthy gathering 
of whatever was then the best in the world's literature, 
gave birth to not a little lyrical rhapsody. The spark 
of poesy it generated in the mind of Mr. George Hatton 
wrought in him to such fine issues that he commemorated 
the inauguration in heroic verse extending to forty-eight 
pages of a i6mo pamphlet. It is thus entitled, The 
Inauguration of the MancJiester Free Library^ September 
2nd, 18^2. A Poem, by George Hatton, and the imprint 
reads " Manchester : The Author, 6 and 7, Greenwood 
Street, Corporation Street, 1853." This epic is dedicated 
"to Sir John Potter, Knight, the originator and munificent 
supporter of the Manchester Free Library," and the lyrist 
speaks of it as a " humble tribute," prompted by " a sincere 
admiration of the benevolent feelings which suggested, 
and the liberality and public spirit which have so nobly 


carried out the design of the first really popular Free 
Library in England." The poem has not placed its author 
on the giddiest height of Parnassus, yet it contains many 
lines distinctly superior to commonplace, and a selection 
from them may fittingly be quoted here : 

Hear, O ye People ! and rejoice for lo, 

A deed is done which far surpasseth show ; 

This day are you recipients of great good, 

If well received and rightly understood. 

This day is dedicate to you and yours 

This princely palace while all time endures. 

This Library is yours ! for ever ! free ! 

Oh, matchless boon ! Oh generosity ! 

This Library is yours ! these countless tomes 

Shall carry comfort to your hearts and homes ; 

This goodly temple, where the heaven-born mind 

Shall grow in grace, and fit nutrition find, 

Until matured and to perfection brought, 

It yields in turn the nourishment it sought. 

This school is yours ! and here at leisure hours 

The untutored soul may learn to know its powers ; 

The unlettered handicraftsman in new phase 

Shall see the world, and seeing, live to praise. 

No longer grovelling on the earth, a pest 

To all society — himself unblest, 

And by imaginary wrongs opprest. 

He shall discover, and thereat rejoice 

That he was formed for virtue, not for vice. 

Emerging from the depths of ignorance. 

His longing soul shall cry " Advance — advance ! " 

This refuge for the weary and forlorn, 

No matter whether high or lowly born. 

Is yours ! for ever yours ! Oh, blest retreat ! 

Here for a season you may haply cheat 

Life of its sorrows. Oh ! then hither come, 

And freely these parterres of pleasure roam. 

Know, it is free to all who choose to share 

The sumptuous banquet now provided there. 


This mansion's yours ! with all that it contains, 
Whilst e'er a man of Manchester remains. 
Oh ! glorious trophy for my native town ! 
Dear Manchester, how great is thy renown ! 

His rapture anent books is not without force or dignity : 
Books are the living pictures of the dead, 
Fond mates, to which all virtuous souls are wed. 
They are a river deepening as it flows. 
Brimful of peace, not impure floods of woes ; 
A fount of pleasure, which, when gushing clear. 
Nothing on earth refresheth with like cheer. 
What an assemblage of these gems I see ! 
They're yours ! they're mine ! to all the world they're free 
What an abundant harvest may we reap ! 
The fruits of those who with our fathers sleep, — 
The accumulative wisdom of all time, 
Is garnered here, from many a soul sublime. 
The breathings of how many a heart sincere, 
Now dead and gone, are safely treasured here ! 
The grave's inhabitants, snatched from the spoiler, Death, 
Again reanimate with living breath, 
Do cry aloud, inviting you to come 
And share the blessings of this peaceful home. 
Potent for good they spread their mystic thrall, 
O salut.ary power ! come one and all. 
Let us obey this spiritual call. 

Four days later, on September 6th, 1852, the Free 
Library, thus so happily and warmly given " God Speed," 
was opened, both reference and lending departments being 
thronged with readers, and the promoters were gratified 
by the striking success which attended their efforts. 
During the first year of working there were issued to 
readers in the reference department 61,080 volumes, and 
from the lending department 77,232 volumes, making a 
total within twelve months of 138,312. The reference 


library when opened to the public, contained 16,013 
volumes, which were increased by the end of the year to 
18,104. The lending branch possessed at the same time 
5,305, and these were increased to 7,195 in the twelve 

Therefore it may be reckoned that the 25,000 volumes 
provided were issued five times over. This does not, perhaps, 
seem a large turnover as compared with the population. The 
census of 1851 gave the total number of inhabitants of the 
city as 308,382. Making every allowance for \^omen, 
children, and adults unable to read, a vast number, 
probably between 50,000 and 60,000 persons, would still 
remain, who might naturally have been expected to avail 
themselves of the privileges provided for them. Had 
they done so to the fullest extent, the figures would 
have been greatly increased, yet under the circumstances 
the result was not unsatisfactory, for a new institution 
requires time in which to make itself known to and 
appreciated by the public, and the public of that day was 
not a generally educated one. In fact, the same census 
tables show that out of the 69,500 children between the 
ages of 3 and 14 then living in Manchester, 30,100 were 
neither at school nor in employment ; and of the rest, 
32,400 were stated to be at school and 7,000 at 
work. Less than one-half of the rising generation 
of 1 85 1 was therefore receiving the instruction necessary 
to fit it for the battle of life, and of course the proportion 
for the previous generation would be smaller still. The 
use of the Free Libraries has in later years increased out of 
all comparison with the mere growth of the population, 
and this increase is largely accounted for by the strenuous 
educational work which has been carried on in our midst 
since the passing of the Elementary Education Act of 
1870. Since that time the number of children ap- 


parently not receiving education has steadily decreased, 
and has indeed almost reached the vanishing point, whilst 
the report of the Committee of Council on Education 
for 1897-8 shows that in 1897 there was in the elementary 
schools of the city alone, the number of 95,534 children 
on the Registers, and if there be added to these, as may 
reasonably be done, the 20,340 in attendance at evening 
schools, the very satisfactory total of 115, 874 is obtained. 
The influence and power of these enhanced educational 
efforts might rightly be expected to manifest themselves 
in an increased use of institutions having for their object 
the enlargement and extension of adult education, and 
it is conclusively shown by the figures recording the 
working of the Manchester Free Libraries that this 
expectation is correct and is being amply and gratifyingly 

The good work thus well begun went sturdily onward 
gaining for itself, under the management of Sir John 
Potter, who had been elected the first Chairman of the 
Committee, much popularity and esteem. This sym- 
pathetic feeling was emphasised by frequent presents to 
the institution, amongst them being ;^75 in money from 
the Manchester Shakspeare Society, the proceeds of an 
amateur performance at the Theatre Royal ; about 620 
volumes from Mr. Robert Barnes, Mayor of Manchester 
in 1852-3 ; 325 volumes given by Mr. Alexander Henry, 
and 140 by Mr. Nicholas Heald; a set of the Specifications 
of Patents from the Commissioners of Patents ; many 
valuable works from America, notably from the Smith- 
sonian Institution, and the publications of several societies 
presented by their members. 

Concerning the use of the Library, Mr. Edwards, in 
his first report, thus speaks : 

From the first, the library of reference has been 


extensively used by persons of all classes in society. 
Many clergymen and ministers of various denomina- 
tions frequently visit it for purposes of research. 
Commercial men of all grades occasionally come, 
either in search of information on some pending 
question of politics or trade, or points connected with 
patents of inventions and other like subjects. Young 
men of good education and acquirements come 
habitually ; some to read history, some to read 
books on commerce, others to study theology or 
philosophy. There are readers who come almost daily, 
both morning and evening for many months. But the 
majority of evening readers— and it is in the evening 
that the library is most largely frequented — have always 
belonged to what are popularly termed 'the working 
classes.' Many, of course, read merely for amusement ; 
but not a few come with a lively and with an obvious 
purpose of self-improvement. 


By way of still further popularising the new institution, 
free lectures were delivered in the Library in the winter of 
1852. The Rev. Dr. Robert Vaughan, Principal of the 
Lancashire Independent College, lectured on the " Use 
and Study of History " ; Mr. A. J. Scott, Principal of 
Owens College, dealt with the " Literature of Society and 
Fiction " ; and Professor Crace Calvert spoke on " Coal 
and its Applications." " These lectures," we are told, "were 
attended by crowded audiences, were listened to with evident 
delight, and were productive of a noticeable effect on the 
demand for books in the Library of Reference." Yet 
the experiment was not repeated till 1888, when a course of 
free lectures was arranged and delivered as follows : — 
1888. January i8th—Hulme Branch— Mr. Charles Rowley, 
on " General Reading for Busy Men." 
January 25th — Cheetham Branch — Rev. P. P. 
^ Forsyth, on " Popular Religious Literature." 


February 15th — Deansgate Branch — Mr. W. E. A. 

Axon, on " Books, Ancient and Modern." 
February 22nd — Chorlton Branch — Professor A. S. 

Wilkins, on " Modern Fiction." 
March 7th — Rochdale Road Branch— Mr. Geo. 

Milner, on " Ballad Literature." 
March 21st — Ancoats Branch — Mr. Geo. Harwood, 
M.A., on " Books as Friends." 
These lectures so greatly attracted the public that a 
further course was provided in the winter of the same year 
and of the year 1889. Here is the list : — 

1888. November 6th— Ancoats Branch— Mr. W. E. A. 

Axon, on " The Story of Manchester." 
December 4th — Chorlton Branch — Mr. J. A. New- 
bold, on " Reasoning." 

1889. January 15th — Hulme Branch — Professor W. Boyd 

Dawkins, on " The Ancient History of the Earth." 
February 5th — Cheetham Branch — Mr. Eli Sower- 
butts, on " The Making of Geography." 
March 4th — Deansgate Branch — Professor A. S. 

Wilkins, on " George Eliot." 

April 9th — Rochdale Road Branch — Mr. Charles 

Rowley, on " General Reading for Busy Men." 

In 1890, three lectures were delivered in the Reference 

Library by way of experiment. On January 13th, 

Mr. Alfred Darbyshire lectured on " Secular Architecture" ; 

on February loth, Mr. Percy S. Worthington, B.A., 

discoursed on " Ecclesiastical Architecture," and on March 

lOth, Mr. John Cassidy spoke on " Sculpture," giving 

during his discourse practical illustrations in the art of 

modelling in clay. A list of the more important works 

contained in the library relative to the subjects expounded 

was printed on the syllabus of each of the lectures. The 

room was crowded with attentive and appreciative 



audiences, and the importance and utility of thus bringing 
some of the treasures of the library into prominent notice 
was conspicuously demonstrated by their subsequent use. 
In further continuance of this useful course of activity 
a series of lectures was provided for the winter of the 
years 189 1-2 as follows : — 

1 89 1. November 24th. — Newton Heath Branch, Public 

Hall. — Mr. Geo. Milner on "English Poetry as 
represented by the collection in the Library." 
December 15. — Newton Heath Branch, Public 
Hall.— Mr. W. E. A. Axon on "Books and 

1892. January 26th. — Newton Heath Branch, Public 

Hall— Mr. T. C. Abbott on "James Russell 
February 15th. — Newton Heath Branch, Public 
Hall. — Mr. Harry Rawson on " Technical Educa- 
tion, with notes of a visit to Technical Schools 
in Germany, France, and Switzerland," and with 
Lantern illustrations. 
March 22nd. — Manchester Town Hall, Mr. J. Ernest 
Phythian, "The Cathedral of St. Mark, Venice," 
with lantern illustrations. 
In connection with this lecture an exhibition of 
Ongania's Basilica of St. Mark was held. This work 
consists of fourteen volumes 4to., and two folio, forming an 
exhaustive and artistic treatise, describing and illustrating 
with text and 741 plates, of which 134 are coloured, one 
of the most interesting and famous buildings in the world. 
During the usual season of 1892-3, the lecture 
programme was carried on, lectures being delivered in the 
Newton Heath, Longsight, and Rusholme Public Halls, 
and the Hulme Town Hall, by Mr. Charles Rowley, on 
"The History of Pictorial Art;" Mr. J. E. Phythian, on the 


" Study of Sculpture in Egypt, Greece, and Italy ;" Mr. W. 
E. A. Axon, on "The Story of Manchester;" and Mr. W. 
W. H. Gee, on "The Electric Light." This branch of 
Library work was then discontinued until 1899, when an 
arrangement was made with Mr. J. E. Phythian to 
deliver from January 27th, to March 3rd, a course of six 
lectures on " English History in Modern Fiction," in the 
Public Hall attached to the Longsight Branch. The 
lectures were illustrated by lantern views, were largely 
attended by the public, and considerably increased the 
use of the higher class fiction, and the works on English 
history possessed by the Library. 

A few years after the opening of the Library in the 
building in Campfield, its inadequacy to meet the public's 
requirements became apparent. The structure had 
originally been designated " The Hall of Science," 
and was opened in May, 1840, as a place of meeting for 
the followers of Robert Owen, whose name will live in 
history as that of the originator of a form of socialism. His 
Life, written by himself, is one of the curiosities of 
biography. The Hall fronted Byrom Street, (named after 
the Manchester Jacobite Poet) and was on three sides 
detached. Its general style of architecture was Italian. - 
On a large stone slab let into the parapet on the front of 
the building was the inscription 







The length of the Hall was 109 ft., and its width 54 ft. 
There was an entrance hall 16 ft. by 20 ft., and fronting it 


on the ground floor was the lending library, occupying a 
spacious room 83 ft. long by 51 ft. wide and 16 ft. high. 
Above this, reached by four flights of steps, was the 
Reference Library. A contemporary describer says of 
this room : — 

It is of the same length and breadth as the library 
for circulation, but is much more lofty and elegant in its 
appearance, the ornamented ceiling being 27 ft. from the 
floor. The windows, six on each side, are 1 5 ft. 6 in. in 
height, and 5 ft. 3 in. in breadth. The entire walls are 
covered with shelves. This noble room is unencumbered 
by columns. It is furnished with six large oak tables, 
covered with black leather, in two rows, surrounded by 
sixty neat chairs. No one can enter this room without 
being sensibly struck with its noble and imposing 

Over the Reference Library there has been formed 
a room which will be available for the purposes of a 
museum, for the reception of models exhibiting improve- 
ments in the machinery chiefly connected with the trade 
of this district, and no doubt other objects of interest. 

The arrangements for lighting and ventilation, which 
were " to ensure the valuable bindings from the serious 
decay which is witnessed in so many of our public 
libraries," are described by this enthusiast in elaborate 
detail, but as they were not very effectual his praises 
may be omitted. Ten years after the erection of the 
building the Owenites having become greatly reduced in 
number were glad enough to dispose of their property, 
and it was purchased by Alderman John Potter, on behalf 
of the .•subscribers to the Public Library Fund, for the sum 
of £\,2QO. The purchase of a chief rent on the property 
of £gi. 6s. per annum, owned by Sir Oswald Mosley, who 
returned one-half of the purchase money, and legal and 
other expenses connected with the transfer brought the 
cost to ;^2,i47. Thus it happened, perhaps not inappro- 
priately, that a structure which had at first been used for 


the purpose of propagating a form of communism for 
"whfch the people were by no means ripe, came to be 
devoted to a more practical and promising method of 
social reform. 

To provide for the embarrassing increase in the use of 
the library, especially in the lending department, the 
Committee submitted to the Council a proposal for the 
establishment of three branch libraries. Their scheme, 
drawn up by Councillor Harry Rawson and explained by 
him and Sir John Potter to the Council on May 13th, 
1857, is outlined in the following "report and recom- 

Your Committee have, for some time past, been 
conscious of the inadequacy of the present Library to 
meet the requirements of the public ; partly from the 
insufficient supply of books, and in great measure from 
the circumstance that the locality of the Library places 
it at a very inconvenient distance from the large numbers 
of those for whom especially its advantages were 
benevolently designed. 

The Council will be aware that at the period of the 
transference of the Free Library to the care and custody 
of the Corporation, the Public Libraries and Museums 
Act, 13 and 14 Vic, cap. 65 required 'that the whole 
amount of rate levied for the purposes of this Act do 
not in any one year amount to more than one halfpenny 
in the pound on the annual value of the property in the 
borough rateable to the borough rate.' As nearly the 
whole of the amount so produced is required for the 
efficient working of the present Library, it becomes 
necessary that your Committee should obtain the 
sanction of the Council to avail themselves of the larger 
powers conferred by a subsequent and amended Act 
the 1 8th and 19th Vic, cap. 70, which empowers the 
levying of a rate ' not exceeding the sum of one penny 
in the pound,' and which on the present assessment of 
the borough, will produce an annual sum of about 


Before proceeding to specify the manner in which 
the Committee propose to carry out the increased powers 
(should the Council see fit to accord them) they beg to 
state that they do not intend to alter any of the conditions 
under which the present Library is placed. It will be 
observed that it is Lending Libraries which they 
recommend to be formed, as they are convinced that it 
would be inexpedient to establish others for the purpose 
of reference ; not only from their greater relative cost, 
but from a belief that one well-stocked Reference 
Library will be more serviceable than several which 
were necessarily less complete and inferior. Neither can 
any large proportion of the books comprising the existing 
lending library be removed, though undoubtedly the 
pressure upon its circulation will be rendered less 
severe when the new branches come into operation. As 
the central lending library, too, it is desirable that the 
number of its volumes should be larger than may be 
required for the branch establishments. 

Your Committee, therefore, submit the following 
recommendations and estimates: — i. That three Branch 
Libraries shall be established. 2. That to each Library 
a News and Reading Room be attached. 3. That the 
Libraries be placed in the following localities : — 

{a) One in Ancoats, as near as practicable to New 
Cross, thus supplying the dense masses of population in 
Ancoats, St. George's and Oldham Roads, and the dis- 
tricts between and on each side of these great thoroughfares. 

{b) One in Hulme, situated near the site of the old 
workhouse, to supply those parts of the township lying 
beyond Stretford New Road, Greenheys, Moss Side, and 

{c) One in Ardwick, near Ardwick Green, to supply 
that township, the districts of London Road, Garratt, 
and the extreme end of Ancoats. 

Your Committee are unanimous in thinking that it 
would be unreasonable to expect from the voluntary 
benevolence of the city (so largely taxed in the origin of 
the present Library) the funds requisite for the establish- 
ment of the branches now proposed ; and it will be seen 
by the appended estimate that the major part of the 
first year's augmented rate will therefore be absorbed in 
the purchase of books and the cost of the necessary 
furniture, shelving, and fittings. 


In preparing the estimate of the annual working 
expenses, your Committee have been guided by the facts 
and information supplied by reports of the Lending 
Libraries of Liverpool, which have proved so remarkably 
successful, by that of our own and the neighbouring 
borough, and by the experience of similar agencies con- 
nected with Mechanics' and other kindred institutions. 

Estimate of Expenses in Establishing three Branch 
Lending Libraries. 

Books — say 2,500 volumes at 2s. 6d. per vol. 320 
Fittings and Furniture, &c., say - - - - 130 

For the three Branches say i^ 1,3 50. 

Estimate of Annual Working Expenses for each Branch. 


Rent of premises- -- 50 

Furniture and repairs ------- 15 

Lighting, warming, and cleaning- - - - 50 

Salaries — Librarian, £^0 ; Assistant, £26 ; 

Errand boy, i;8 ------- 114 

Replacement of books — say 400 volumes 

at 2s. 6d. --------- 50 

Binding — say 500 vols, at is. 3d., ^^31 ; 

Printing and Stationery, ;^20 - - - 51 
Incidental Expenses, ;^io; Repairs and 

Press-marking of Books, ^15 - - - 25 

Newspapers and Periodicals ----- 30 

Sundries ----------- 15 

Total expense annually of three Branches 
;{: 1,300. 
These recommendations were adopted in their entirety 
by the Council, and in pursuance of this authorization, 
a Branch Library was opened on November 23rd, 1857, at 
No. 221, Stretford Road, Hulme, and another on December 
7th of the same year at No. 190, Great Ancoats Street. 
These libraries were designated the Hulme Branch and 


the Ancoats Branch. At the conclusion of the first year's 
working the Hulme Branch possessed 3,849 volumes and 
the Ancoats Branch 4,235. The total issue of books at 
Hulme was 50,129 to 2,608 borrowers and at Ancoats 
38,058 to 2,284 readers. 


The following year, 1858, was marked by the death, 
on the 25th of October, of the man to whom the Free 
Libraries largely owed their origin. Of Sir John Potter's 
public life and character Mr. Edwards has given an 
interesting sketch in his Free Town Libraries. It may 
be worth while to quote what he says about the starting 
of the subscription for the free library : — 

Sir John Potter began his chief public labour ^during 
the second year of his mayoralty) by taking from his 
pocket one day, on the Manchester Exchange, a library 
begging-book. He repeated the experiment soon after- 
wards in a place where he was wont to feel himself more 
thoroughly at his ease than even on that Exchange 
where his name had been so long held in honour. At 
the head of a board well laden with the choicest of the 
good things of this life, and surrounded by faces beaming 
with testimony of the genial enjoyment of them, Sir 
John Potter was always seen at his best. The enjoyment 
of the host seemed to increase with the number and 
joyousness of the guests. Under such happy circum- 
stances, the subscription list opened on the Exchange, 
went round the table with the wine, and was rapidly and 
liberally filled up. 

On the death of Sir John Potter, the chairmanship 
was temporarily undertaken by Councillor Alexander 
McDougall, Senr. In 1859 Councillor Harry Rawson was 
elected Chairman, and to him succeeded, in 1861, Coun- 
cillor John King, Jun., Councillor Thomas Baker being 
appointed Vice-Chairman. 



The year 1858 also witnessed the termination of Mr. 
Edwards's tenure of the office of chief librarian, after six 
years' service. During that period he submitted many 
valuable reports and suggestions, besides arranging and 
cataloguing the books forming the nucleus of the libraries, 
and there is no doubt that these institutions owe a 
considerable portion of their success to his abilities. In 
his time of office the number of volumes in the Reference 
Library increased from 16,013 to 25,858, and in the 
lending library from 5,305 to 10,029, whilst the issues in 
the Reference Library grew from 61,080 to 101,991, and 
in the lending library from 77,232 to 96,117. 

Edward Edwards was a native of London, where he 
was born in the year 1812. Very little is known of his 
early career, but he undoubtedly received a good education. 
In 1836 he appeared as a pamphleteer on subjects of 
public interest, writing among other topics on National 
Universities, with special reference to the University of 
London whose Charter was then under discussion. He 
also obtained some reputation as a numismatist, and 
in 1837 printed for private circulation a "Descriptive 
Catalogue of the Medals struck in France and its Depend- 
encies, 1789 — 1830." In this he notes the deficiencies in 
the series then in the British Museum. During the same 
year there appeared from his pen a handsome folio volume 
devoted to the "Napoleon Medals," the illustrations of the 
medals being produced by the CoUas system of engraving. 
His next work of importance was a treatise on "The 
Administrative Economy of the Fine Arts in England " 
which was published in 1840, when the question of the 
extent to which the State should interfere, or can usefully 
interfere, for the promotion of education and for the 


encouragement of the fine arts was still a matter on which 
there existed great diversity of opinion. 

In the meantime Mr. Edwards had shown a masterly 
grasp of the problems of library economy in a printed 
letter addressed in 1836 to B. Hawes, M.P., and consisting 
of " Remarks on the Minutes of Evidence before the Select 
Committee on the British Museum of 1835." In this, as 
in his own evidence before the Committee in January, 
1836, he asks for greater accessibility, a regular supply of 
books, a reformation in the state of the catalogues, and a 
better departmental organization. The deficiencies of the 
library in those days as regards foreign literature were 
insisted upon with emphasis. This pamphlet, with some 
additions, he reprinted in 1839, and on Feb. 7th ot that 
year the Museum authorities appointed him as a super- 
numerary assistant in the printed book department, for 
special employment on the new catalogue ordered by the 

Edwards was one of the four coadjutors of Mr. Panizzi 
in framing the ninety-one rules for the formation of the 
catalogue, the others being John Winter Jones, afterwards 
principal librarian ; Thomas Watts, afterwards keeper of 
the printed books, and Serjeant Parry who afterwards 
attained distinction in the legal profession. As Panizzi is 
generally credited with a large amount of the autocratic 
spirit it is interesting to know that Mr. Edwards always 
bore testimony to the consideration he gave to their 
opinions when they chanced to diverge from his own. 
Panizzi, in fact, always put matters of dispute to the vote 
and loyally abode by the decisions of the majority. 
Mr. Edwards was an important witness before each of 
the Select Committees which, between 1836 and 1850, 
examined into the management of our great national 


On the commencement of the catalogue Edwards was 
assigned to the duty of cataloguing the collection of civil 
war tracts, formed under Charles I. and the Commonwealth 
by the bookseller Thomason, and containing more than 
thirty thousand separate pieces. These were entirely cata- 
logued by him. The task seems to have absorbed his ener- 
gies for several years, or else any other literary work which 
he may have produced was anonymous. About 1846 he 
began to devote great attention to the statistics of libraries, 
collected returns supplied by foreign librarians or excerpted 
by himself from foreign publications, and published the 
results in the AthencEum. He contributed to the British 
Quarterly Review in 1 847 a paper on " Libraries in London 
and Paris " ; read a paper before the Statistical Society in 
1848, and in the same year printed for private circulation 
" Remarks upon the paucity of libraries freely open to the 
public in the British Empire." Unfortunately his statistics 
were frequently fallacious, and Mr. Watts, in a series of 
letters published in the Athenmim under the signature 
" Verificator," easily showed that Edwards's assertions and 
conclusions were not entirely to be relied on. They had 
served, however, to make him a popular authority, and when 
Mr. William Ewart secured the appointment of a Select 
Committee on Public Libraries in 1849, Mr. Edwards was 
the first and principal witness examined. Among the 
other witnesses were Mr. Thomas Jones, Librarian of 
Chetham's College, Manchester, and Joseph Brotherton, 
M.P., who told the Committee of the action that had been 
taken at his suggestion for the establishment of a free 
library in connection with the Peel Park Museum in Salford. 

It was natural that Edwards should be offered the 
librarianship of the first important free library established 
under Mr. E wart's Act, which he was the more disposed to 
accept, as his engagement at the Museum had from various 


causes ceased to be satisfactory to himself or the authorities. 
He accordingly became the first librarian of the Man- 
chester Free Library and applied himself with much 
energy to the management and development of the 
institution. His project for a classified catalogue was 
published in 1855, in the form of a letter to Sir John Potter. 
He printed a number of other reports and pamphlets 
connected with the work of the Free Library, and one of 
them was resented as an attack upon the catalogue of the 
Portico Library, which he had severely criticised. This 
involved him in a paper war with Mr. W. H. G. Ord and 
Dr. Frank Renaud. He was also the first to protest 
against the limitation of expenditure on public libraries, 
his report on the Manchester Library, dated 1853, con- 
taining these suggestions for the amendment of the Act 
then in force : — 

The chief amendments now needed are, I submit — 

1. The omission of the limit affixed to the rate, 
leaving it to be settled by Town Councils, according to 
the circumstances of each town, at their own discretion, 
and upon their ordinary responsibility. 

2. The omission of the prohibitory clause as to taking 
a new poll within less than two years after a negative 
decision. This certainly might be left to the decision of 
the Town Council in each case. 

3. The extension to all Town Councils of the powers 
which by local Acts have already been given to those of 
Manchester and Liverpool, in respect of the purchase 
of books, &c., out of all monies which they may law- 
fully appropriate to public libraries and museums. 

The two last reforms have been obtained, but the 
most mischievous thing of all, the limitation of the rate, yet 
remains to retard and prevent the progress of one of the 
most popular and enlightened movements of modern times. 

Whilst engaged in Manchester, he continued his 
literary investigations, and in 1855 published an accep- 
table contribution to local history, dealing, under the 


title of " Manchester Worthies and their Foundations," 
with the endowments of Thomas La Warre, Hugh 
Oldham, Humphrey Chetham, William Hulme, and John 

The relations of the librarian of a free library and his 
committee frequently require tact atid forbearance on both 
sides, and these were certainly wanting on the part of 
Edwards, whose temper was naturally impatient of 
control, and who admits in the pamphlet already men- 
tioned that he had been taxed both with indifference to 
economy and with an undue regard for his own reputation. 

Difficulties arose which, after considerable discussion, 
led to his resignation in 1858 of the position of chief 
librarian. After a brief experience as partner in a book- 
selling firm, he devoted himself entirely to literature and 
bibliography. Before his removal from Manchester there 
appeared what must be regarded as his most important 
work, "The Memoirs of Libraries," published in 1859, i" 
two large volumes, which, it may be noted as a curious 
circumstance, were printed at Leipsic. This book, with 
all its admitted defects, remains the most considerable 
contribution that has been made by any Englishman to 
library science. In 1864 he published a volume of 
" Chapters of the Biographical History of the French 
Academy." In the appendix to this he describes the 
monastic chronicle entitled " Liber de Hyda," which he 
discovered whilst arranging the library of the Earl of 
Macclesfield. This chronicle he edited in 1866 for the 
Rolls Series. The history and management of libraries 
always had the first claim upon his attention, and in 1864 
he issued " Libraries and Founders of Libraries," which 
contains the result of much literary and archaeological 
research, and forms a valuable and necessary supplement 
to the "Memoirs of Libraries." He next turned his 


attention to one of his favourite heroes, and on " The Life 
of Sir Walter Ralegh," published in 1868, expended 
an enormous amount of labour. The second volume is 
particularly valuable, containing for the first time a 
complete edition of Raleigh's correspondence ; the memoir 
also has considerable merit, but it appeared almost 
simultaneously with J. A. St. John's, and it was remarked 
with surprise that each biography appeared to be deficient in 
whatever gave interest to the other, and that the two 
would need to be blended to produce a really satisfactory 
work. As a mere piece of by-play he compiled a volume 
on " Exmouth and its Neighbourhood, Ancient and 
Modern," which appeared, but without his name, also in 
1868. In the following year he issued "Free Town 
Libraries, their formation, management, and history ; in 
Britain, France, Germany, and America." In this volume 
he has told the story of the foundation of the Manchester 
Public Libraries. In 1870 he made another contribution 
to library history in his " Lives of the Founders of the 
British Museum." Although this work must be supple- 
mented and may perhaps be superseded by others, it is 
likely to remain the groundwork of every future history. 
It is in general accurate as well as painstaking, and 
evinces a most creditable impartiality. 

Edwards next accepted an engagement to catalogue 
the library of Queen's College, Oxford, which occupied 
him for several years. On the formation of the Library 
Association in 1877 he was proposed as its first President, 
but he declined the honour and the deafness from which 
he was by this time suffering would alone have been an 
insuperable obstacle to his discharge of the office ; yet he was 
much gratified by his election in 1882 as honorary member 
of that Association. His failing health and slender 
resources gave anxiety to his friends, and the Provost and 


Fellows of Queen's College, by a memorial under their 
common seal, petitioned Lord Beaconsfield on his behalf 
for a pension. This application was also backed up by 
Alderman Curtis, then Mayor of Manchester, and by Sir 
Thomas Baker, chairman of the Free Libraries Committee. 
The memorial was not immediately successful ; but in 
1883, on the recommendation of Mr. Gladstone, the Queen 
granted him a Civil List pension of ^80. After the 
completion of his Oxford engagement he retired to Niton, 
in the Isle of Wight, and occupied himself with projects 
for a recast of his " Memoirs of Libraries," with great 
alterations and improvements. 

A prospectus of the intended work was issued by 
Edwards, who also negotiated for the appearance of 
a portion of it in the Library Chromcle, and was 
understood to have collected considerable material for it, 
but it does not seem to be known whether this still exists. 
His last published book was a " Handbook to Lists of 
Collective Biography," undertaken in conjunction with Mr. 
C. Hole, the first and only part of which appeared in 1885. 
He also wrote the article on " Libraries " and the greater 
part of the article " Newspapers " in the 8th edition of 
the " Encyclopaedia Britannica." He died at Niton, in 
the Isle of Wight, on the loth February, 1886. 

Notwithstanding serious faults and frequent failures, 
Edwards's name will always be associated with the- 
history of librarianship in England. His services in 
connection with the free library movement were very 
valuable, and he did much to awaken attention to the 
defects of English libraries and librarianship. As a 
literary historian he was erudite and industrious, though 
not sufficiently discriminating. His works ' occupy 
a place of their own, and will always remain valuable 
mines of information. His opinions on library matters, 


whether expressed in his evidence before the Museums 
Committee or in his own writings, are almost always 
sensible and sound. They exhibit few traces of that 
vehemence of temperament and that incapacity for har- 
monious co-operation with others which were at the root 
of most of his failures, and placed him in a false position 
for so great a part of his life. The institutions on whose 
behalf he spent himself so lavishly came before the era of 
compulsory education. It may well be that in the future, 
with the general spread of elementary instruction, they will 
have even more influence than they have had in the past 
as instruments by which the best that has been thought 
and written on any problem is made accessible to all.* 

Mr. Edwards was succeeded by Mr. Robert Wilson 
Smiles, formerly Secretary of the Lancashire Public 
Schools Association, and brother of Dr. Samuel Smiles, 
the author of Self Help. Mr. Smiles was a pronounced 
educationalist, and he devoted much care and labour to the 
formation of an educational department in the Reference 
Library. This section consisted of class and school 
books, maps, diagrams, and many kinds of apparatus then 
in use for educational purposes, and was intended to 
furnish " a ready and efficient channel by which publishers 
might bring their issues under the notice of those most 
directly interested." It was also thought that such a 
section would afford a more satisfactory means of ascer- 
taining the respective merits of educational publications 
than the advertisements and notices which appeared in 
educational and other journals. A circular addressed to 
the educational publishers of the country was sent out, was 

*I am indebted to the article on Edwards in the " Dictionary of National 
Biography " for much of the information here given." 


well received, and the suggestion was generously supported. 
In his report issued not long after the formation of the 
section Mr. Smiles says " This department now includes 
1,048 books, maps, diagrams, sets of books and lessons, &c. 
Many schoolmasters, public lecturers, professional men, 
and others interested in practical instruction, have visited 
this department during the year." It was, however, 
after a few years, discontinued. 

Another of his useful undertakings was the establish- 
ment, early in 1862, of a special department for the 
accommodation of juvenile readers. Some 120 volumes 
of books likely to appeal to their tastes were provided 
and two tables in the Lending Library Newsroom were 
set apart for their use. The result proved the arrangement 
to possess so many and such valuable advantages, that 
from this small beginning has grown the extensive system 
of Boys' Reading Rooms which is now one of the most 
striking and useful characteristics of public library work 
in Manchester. 

During Mr. Smiles's librarianship the third Branch 
Library was opened in Livesey Street, Rochdale Road, on 
June 4th, i860. As this was the first building specially 
designed and erected for its purpose much interest was 
manifested in the opening ceremony, and there was a 
large attendance of the public on the occasion. Councillor 
Rawson, then chairman of the committee, presided. Here 
follows a report of the proceedings : — 

On the platform were Ivie Mackie, Mayor of Man- 
chester ; the Revs. Canon Richson, M.A., Rector of St. 
Andrew's, Ancoats ; W. Richardson, of St. John's, Miles 
Platting ; F. W. Davies, of St. Peter's, Oldham Road ; W. 
Edwards, Wesleyan ; E. Hopkinson, Missionary ; Messrs, 
Joseph Heron, Town Clerk ; J. G. Lynde, City Sur- 
veyor ; Charles Swallow, Agent of the Bible Society ; 
Alderman Goadsby, and Councillors Bake, Horsfall, 


Penny, Ogden, Worthington, and Warburton ; R. W. 
Smiles, Principal Librarian ; James Bellhouse, the 
Branch Librarian, and others. 

Councillor Harry Rawson, in opening the proceedings 
of the evening, observed that he had been flattered by 
his respected colleagues of the free library committee 
with the request that he would undertake the honourable 
position of chairman of that meeting, and conduct the 
proceedings. In accordance with a custom which might 
perhaps in the present case be ' more honoured in the 
breach than in the observance,' he would venture to offer 
some preliminary observations, studiously, however, 
endeavouring to render them pertinent to the occasion, 
and as brief as might be compatible with such explana- 
tions and statements as might seem, if not demanded, at 
least not inappropriate to the object which had called 
them together that evening. Some three and a-half years 
ago, the free library committee became conscious that the 
rapidly-growing population of the city — the extension of 
its boundaries in those parts especially farthest from the 
centre — rendered it desirable to take some steps with a 
view to the augmentation of the Free Library's useful- 
ness, and to the carrying of its beneficent operations and 
influences into districts so far removed from Campfield 
as to be practically debarred from participation in its 
advantages. Accordingly plans were prepared, which in 
due course were submitted to the City Council by the 
then chairman of the committee, the late Sir John 
Potter, to whose happy lot it thus fell, not only to foster 
into being the original library, but to propose those 
extensions which the success of its operations alike 
suggested and justified. The Corporation approved of 
and sanctioned the scheme, and it was determined to place 
one branch library in Hulme, onein Ancoats, contiguous 
to Ardwick, and a third in Rochdale Road. In the other 
portions of the city, premises had been selected and 
operations commenced ; but in the Rochdale Road 
district great difficulty was experienced, and whilst con- 
ducting enquiries for premises, the success of the Hulme 
and the Ancoats branches encouraged the committee to 
venture on the erection of a building, which they 
determined should combine all the requirements and con- 
veniences of a commodious and comfortable library and 


newsroom, with capacity for future extension. Plans were 
prepared, and much deliberation was expended upon 
them. They were especially fortunate in having the 
efficient and zealous aid of Mr. Lynde, the city surveyor, 
under whose eye the contractor had fulfilled his engage- 
ments, and the result was the completion of the 
building in which they were then assembled, and whose 
operations they purposed that evening to inaugurate. 
It was most honourable to Manchester that it was the 
first city to avail itself of the powers of the Public Free 
Libraries Act — most honourable that it was the first 
city to outgrow even the liberal provisions originally 
made for its intellectual wants, and to seek additional 
resources. In respect of this new branch, he was con- 
vinced there was reason to anticipate a successful 
career, from the fact that the two branch free 
libraries already in operation were a decided success. 
At the Hulme Library, the first year, the number 
of volumes lent out was 50,129, the daily average 
being 215; the second year, 67,22,1 volumes were 
lent out, being an average of 226 daily; the daily average 
number of visitors to the newsroom was 322. At Ancoats 
branch, in the first year, there were issued 38,058 volumes, 
or an average of 169 daily, with 318 visitors daily to the 
newsroom ; in the second year, the number of books lent 
was 47,626, or an average of 161 per day. The Campfield 
Library newsroom drew a daily average of 1,289 persons ; 
so that the total number visiting the three public free 
newsrooms was, on an average 1,929 daily. The average 
number of books lent per day from the three libraries 
collectively was 1,042 volumes. When the Rochdale 
Road numbers were added to the three others he had 
named the results would be so vast, that it required the 
assurance of actual experience to enable them fully to 
realise their significance, and seeing what they proclaimed 
as the results of efforts made for popular education in a 
most efficient form, by one unquestionably powerful 
municipality, it was indeed cheering and satisfactory to 
reflect that seventeen cities and boroughs had already in 
operation these beneficent agencies. Mr. Smiles their 
librarian, was constantly receiving inquiries as to the 
management, &c., of the present institution in Man- 
chester, for guidance in other towns, to which he 
devoted, with much satisfaction, his best attention. 


Shortly would Birmingham, Wolverhampton, and 
Blackburn be added to the list of Free Public 
Libraries; and Marylebone, Bridgewater, Gloucester, 
Brighton, Lancaster, and Glasgow were moving in the 
matter. He had looked through the reports of the 
Bolton, Cambridge, Sheffield, Birkenhead, Westminster, 
Liverpool, and Salford libraries, and found all to declare, 
in most emphatic terms, first, that the expectations of 
the promoters had been exceeded ; second, that no 
damage had been done to the books but what was 
astonishing from its inconsiderableness ; and, that the 
actual losses sustained were of a marvellously unimportant 
character. In the report of the Liverpool Library for 
six years (1852 to 1858), the circulation was represented 
to have been one million, and the loss only amounted to 
30S. In Manchester, during five years, in which time it 
had circulated 790,000 books, the loss sustained had 
only been twenty volumes, averaging perhaps 2s. each. 
In Salford, at the end of 1855, with one unimportant 
exception, no book had been damaged, lost, or stolen, 
for which compensation had not been paid. And if 
these things were done in the green wood, what might 
be done in the dry ? If such were the achievements of 
free libraries in the past, what might they not antici- 
pate from their future ? If they had accomplished 
so much under the disadvantages of novelty and inex- 
perience — and of the comparatively limited demand for 
reading which alone a partial education of the people 
could supply — what would they not do when the 
improvements and extension of education, youthful and 
adult, now so rapidly progressing, have had time to 
produce their natural, inevitable, and most satisfactory 
effects ? In 1 838 the government grant for education was 
i^20,ooo. In i860 it was ;^793,ooo. Was there not a 
wonderful significance in this fact alone? He wished 
them to bear in mind that every well-conducted school, 
in giving elementary instruction, fosters the love of know- 
ledge and creates a taste for reading. That cheap 
popular literature must act, and be re-acted on by this 
improvement ; and that every mechanic's institution, 
every mutual improvement society, every one of the 
numerous intellectual appliances now being attached to 
their Sunday-schools must augment the number of 
readers and students, and it was impossible for them, as 


friends of popular instruction — believing that only a 
people enlightened could form a nation permanently free 
and enduringly happy — not to feel elated by the prospect 
of the expanding and almost boundless usefulness which 
lies open to the free libraries and newsrooms of our 
various municipalities. 

""^is Worship the Mayor (Mr. Ivie Mackie), observed he 
had been called upon to declare that the Free Library 
was open ; but he thought such an announcement was 
unnecessary, as it had been proved by the very large 
meeting before them. Although the room was a spacious 
one, yet it appeared to him that it was far too small, and 
he was glad to observe that it was well ventilated. The 
principle of ventilation had been known for centuries, but 
it was only in recent years that the secret of carrying the 
principle into practice had been discovered. He would 
advise all not only to make a good use of their time in 
improving themselves, but also to make a good use of 
their money. He had been often tempted, when he was 
young, to enjoy himself in the leisure he possessed, and 
spend his money for that object ; but he had learned to 
deny himself in small things, and so had risen to the 
position in which he was privileged to stand. A man 
who could not assist himself would not be one likely to 
benefit from the assistance of others ; and then, again, 
no man could assist another who did not care to assist 
himself As all men were in some measure dependent 
upon others, and as all were affected in one way or 
another by the prosperity or adversity of those around, 
so it was important that every man should learn to 
help himself, that they might be able to assist their 
neighbours. They must remember, too, that unless they 
took advantage of small things, they would never have 
the opportunity of taking care of large things ; they 
might be able to get a great deal of information out of 
books, but unless they learned from the book of life, from 
the book of experience, mere book reading would not do 
much good. He hoped the inhabitants of that district 
would avail themselves of the opportunity afforded them 
by^the opening of that free library. 

Professor Greenwood, B.A., of Owens College, rose 
to move the first resolution. He recalled to the mind of 
those present the very important part taken in the 


establishment of the free libraries by the late Sir John 

Potter, whose memory every working man would hold 

dear on that account. The resolution was as follows : — 

That this meeting rejoices in the great success 

which has attended the establishment of public 

free libraries in the country, and in the evidence 

they have afforded of the desire of the people 

to avail themselves of the means thereby furnished 

for their social and intellectual advancement. 

He traced the history of the free library scheme in 
Manchester, and said that out of 75,000 volumes issued 
in the course of last year no less than 58,000 might be 
classed under the general term of light literature. [The 
58,000 volumes here referred to included literary mis- 
cellanies and collective works, magazines and reviews, 
encyclopeedias, dictionaries and philological works, and 
poetry and the drama.] This was, perhaps, much 
too large a proportion ; but it was equally true of all 
of them that after a hard day's work they naturally read 
that which did not demand a very great effort of their 
thinking powers. And while remembering that it was 
not wise and safe to read this class of works alone, the 
remedy was to be found not in reading books they 
had no taste, for, which would prove unavailing, but in 
choosing the best works on the subjects to which their 
tastes directed them ; and, he trusted, the quality of 
reading, as well as the quantity, was being improved. 
He mentioned the gratifying fact, that in consequence 
of the reports of distinguished visitors, the example of 
Manchester had been followed in Berlin and other cities 
in Germany. 

Councillor Rumney, in seconding the resolution, 
defended the perusal of the highest works of fiction, as 
calculated to develop the reflective faculties and refine 
the feelings. He thought that if a system of house-to- 
house visitation were adopted in the district, the benefits 
of the library might be brought within the reach of many 
who, without such an instrumentality, would never hear 
of its establishment. 

Mr. Charles Swallow supported the resolution. He 
referred to the numerous translations of the scriptures 
which had been presented by the Bible Society to the 


reference department of the Manchester Free Library. 
He hoped that the institution would be useful in 
every sense, and that the books behind him would 
be the means of affording the working men of that 
locality the opportunity of gaining a wholesome and 
useful knowledge of every subject they contained. The 
resolution was carried unanimously. 

The Rev. Canon Richson next moved : ' That this 
meeting regards with satisfaction the opening of this 
branch Free Library and Newsroom, and trusts that the 
opportunities of self-improvement and recreation which 
it will afford, will be extensively used by the population 
of this neighbourhood.' He objected to the word 'trusts' 
in the resolution, as there was no doubt at all about the 
fact that the opportunities afforded to the working 
classes would be made use of, and that the result would be 
a very beneficial one. He regarded these free libraries 
as an instalment of what was to come in the way of 
education for the people. He was not satisfied with 
what was done for education. It was true that the 
friends of education for the moment were beaten, that is, 
they were obliged to be quiet ; but their spirits were 
not broken, they were as ready as ever for action, and 
would triumph yet. He was thoroughly persuaded that 
something like the principle which had been proposed 
would yet be adopted in this country. The time would 
come— and these libraries would help it forward — when 
the working man would say to the government of 
this country, ' I will not submit to the necessity of my 
child being pauperised to get education ; it shall be a 
civil right.' This was the true and just basis they 
advocated, and it would be fully recognised hereafter. 

The Rev. W. Richardson, rector of St. John's, Miles 
Platting, seconded the motion, and it passed with 

Mr. Duffy, in obedience to the general call of the 
meeting, mounted the platform, and stated that he had 
merely come to see the fulfilment of his desire for that 
third branch library. As a working man he had always 
been favourable to education, and had been connected 
with most of such movements in Manchester. His 
friend Mr. Smiles would remember that he was a member 
of the Lancashire Public School Association. Living 


as he did at the top of Ancoats, he had not time to visit 
Campfield, and as there were many thousands of books 
there unused, he thought something might be done to 
extend their usefulness. At that time he read a very 
able lecture on ' National Education,' by their worthy 
representative Mr. Thomas Bazley, in which regret was 
expressed that the working classes did not avail them- 
selves more largely of these valuable institutions. He 
felt rather indignant at this, and penned a letter in reply 
to the newspaper, stating that if institutions were only 
placed in their way they would avail themselves of them. 
There were many of their wealthy friends on that plat- 
form, and as it was not often that a working man had 
an opportunity of telling them what he thought, he 
would do so. The Athenaeum was making a successful 
appeal to the merchants of Manchester to assist this 
grand middle-class institution, but working men could 
scarcely get a shilling for their Working Men's College, 
in Ancoats — which had done a deal of good. Again, 
the institution at Rusholme had raised a large amount 
by a bazaar and other means. The working classes 
wanted some of this sympathy and help. They wanted 
a college in Rochdale Road, and a college in Hulme, 
and must have them. 

Mr. Norbury, a member of the original Working 
Men's Committee, was also called upon to speak, and in 
a speech of much humour referred to the beneficial opera- 
tion of the free libraries and other similar institutions. 
The first year's working of the new branch showed 
that its 3,446 volumes reached a total of 59,194 records of 
issue to 2,303 borrowers. In 1 870 the building was enlarged 
by including in it the portion which had previously been 
used as the dwelling of the librarian. Again in 1885 it was 
found necessary to increase the accommodation, which 
was done by the removal of some houses adjoining the 
building. A boys' room was also formed beneath the 
newsroom extension, and opened on October 12th, 1885. 

This year, i860, was fruitful in gifts to the stock of 
books in the libraries. Upwards of 1,000 volumes of works 



chiefly of an educational character, were presented by 
their respective publishers. Lord Overstone gave a set of 
his reprints of scarce tracts on Commerce, and Mr. James 
Heyvvood a set of the Camden Society's publications, 
together with other works. A society entitled the 
" Scientific Library Association " was also formed, having 
for its object the purchase of scientific books to be 
deposited in the reference library. They set before 
themselves a magnificent ideal, nothing less than " to 
deposit in the library all the best books on the manufacuring 
industry, statistics, antiquities, engineering, mining, 
geology, chemistry, mineralogy, meteorology, astronomy, 
natural history, botany, anatomy and physiology, com- 
parative anatomy, &c." There may have been glorious 
virtue in that "&c.," but human hopes and human intentions 
are ofttimes vain, and so it proved with this association, 
which existed only about a year, during which time it 
presented to the library the numbers, as published, of 
fifteen scientific periodicals, Ure's Dictionary of Aris, 
Hussey's Mycology and twenty-nine other volumes. In the 
following year, i86i, the library of the Miles Platting 
Mechanics' Institution, numbering about 2,oco volumes, 
was presented to the Rochdale Road Branch ; and about 
200 volumes relating to the Society of Friends were given 
by the Manchester Meeting of that Society. 

Among the gifts to the Library about this time was 
one of the most curious that possibly has ever been made 
to such an Institution. This was presented by the Directors 
of the Mechanics' Institution, and consisted of a collection 
of plaster casts, made for the once famous phrenologists, 
Messrs. Gall and Spurzheim, and completed by Mr. Wm. 
Bally, an apostle of theirs, who practised the occult 
science of phrenology in Manchester. The casts number- ' 
ing some 760, included the heads of statesmen, poets, 


\ lawyers, murderers, and other celebrated gentlemen of the 
past and of the generation then present, and were placed 

\ on exhibition in an upper room in the Reference Library. 
After some years the collection was sent to the Museum 

V in Queen's Park, belonging to the Corporation. 

Even prior to the Library being formally vested in 
the Corporation, much discussion had taken place on the 
subject of a catalogue. There was great diversity of 
opinion among the members of the original committee on 
this important question, but ultimately Mr. Edwards drew 
up a special report, in which he proposed a plan for a 
classified catalogue, supplemented by two indexes, one of 
authors, and the other of topics. His classification was 
founded on the well-known system of Brunet, with 
modifications to meet the special exigencies of the case. 
This plan was adopted by the committee, and the work 
was in preparation when Mr. Edwards resigned. His 
successor carried on the task on the same lines, and the 
first volume, containing the books in Class I., Theology, 
was printed in i860. But little progress was, however, 
afterwards made, and the committee, becoming dissatisfied 
with the long delay, advertised in May, 1862, for a 
competent person to prepare a catalogue of the books in 
the reference library, then numbering about 30,000 
volumes. Amongst the applicants was Mr. Andrea 
Crestadoro, Ph.D., whose offer to complete the catalogue 
within two years was accepted. The catalogue was 
finished within the specified time, and was placed in the 
hands of the public in 1864. It consists of two parts, the 
first being a list of authors' names in alphabetical order, 
anonymous works being placed under their subject, and 
the second an index of subjects. The work gave great 


satisfaction, and on Mr. Smiles's resignation of the chief 
Hbrarianship in April, 1864, after an official service of six 
years. Dr. Crestadoro was appointed his successor. 


Councillor Thomas Baker was elected Chairman of 
the Committee in 1864, and the first official duty of 
importance he performed was the opening of a new 
building for the Hulme Branch Library. The inaugural 
meeting was held in the Hulme Town Hall, Stretford 
Road, on June 15th, 1866. Among those present were 
William Bowker, the Mayor of Manchester ; Councillor 
Baker, Chairman of the Free Libraries Committee ; Alder- 
men Bennett, Clark, Bake, and Rumney ; Councillors 
Stracey, Warburton, Brougham, T. Warburton, Vertegans, 
Whitehouse, Marshall, Mc.Gill, Ingham, Jas. Nield, Murray, 
Heys, G. Booth, Alcock, Wm. Booth, Joseph Thompson, 
Ashmore, Townsend, Ashton, Clowes, Anderson, Craston, 
Dyson, Eastwood, Hampson, Swanwick, Grantham, Birch, 
Hope, Craven, and Livesley ; the Rev. F. C. Woodhouse, 
Incumbent of St. Mary's, Hulme ; the Rev. Canon Toole 
(Roman Catholic), St. Wilfred's ; the Rev. Jas. Gwyther 
(Independent) ; the Rev. Geo. Bowden (Wesleyan) ; the 
Rev. S. A. Steinthal (Unitarian) ; the Rev. John Henn ; 
Professor Greenwood, of Owens College ; Saml. Crompton, 
M.D., Mr. C. Swallow, Mr. Richard Haworth, Mr. Thos. 
Schofield, Capt. Palin, Chief Constable ; Mr. R. H. Gibson, 
Mr. W. Griffiths, Mr. Harry Rawson ; A. Crestadoro, 
Ph.D., Principal Librarian ; Mr. Talbot, Assistant Town 
Clerk ; Mr. Martin, City Treasurer ; Mr. Lynde, City 
Surveyor, and others. 

Xh e com pany proceeded to the new Library and 
Newsroom, the convenience and spaciousness of which 
elicited general expressions of approbation. At the 


public meeting which followed, the Chair was taken by 
Mr. Thomas Baker, as Chairman of the Free Libraries 
Committee. From the commencement of the proceedings 
the spacious hall was crowded in every part. 

The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, said : — 
The inhabitants of Hulme well knew that during theJast 
two or three years a very Handsome building had been 
rising adjoining the Town Hall, in which they were now 
assembled ; and they would also know that that build- 
ing was intended to be devoted to the purposes of a 
Library and a Newsroom for the free use of anybody 
who chose to frequent them. It would also be known to 
most people that the management of the Free Libraries 
and Newsrooms in Manchester was vested in a Com- 
mittee of the Corporation. That Committee had thought 
it desirable that the opening of this large institution 
should be commemorated by a public meeting, and they 
had, for that purpose, invited the attendance of the 
public that evening. In introducing the work of the 
evening, it was not his endeavour to make a long speech. 
He preferred to confine his remarks to the origin and 
progress of the Free Library in the township of Hulme. 
Gentlemen might, perhaps, be aware that the first branch 
Library in Manchester was established in Hulme, and 
he must say that the 23rd of November, 1857, when the 
Library was opened, was a very great day for that tow-n- 
ship. The building in which the books were placed and 
then offered for perusal, was a comparatively insignificant 
building, and its pretensions were very small. But it 
was quite clear after the first few months that the inhabi- 
tants of the district intended to avail themselves fully of 
the advantages that were proffered to them. He pro- 
posed to give them, in the first instance, an account of 
the number of readers from the time of its establishment 
to the present year, and then they would be able to 
judge for themselves whether the Library had answered 
the purpose for which it was established. In the first 
year of its being opened, when the books were located 
in a comparatively small house on that side of the road, 
and not very far from the room in which they were 
assembled, 215 volumes per day were issued, making 
during the year an aggregate of 50,129 volumes. 


Upwards of 50,000 volumes were read during the first 
year of the Hbrary being established, though that year 
had comprised only 233 days, for the report of the free 
libraries has always been made up to the 5th of 
September, and the report was made up to the month of 
September in that year. In the second year of its 
establishment 226 volumes per day were issued, or an 
aggregate of 67,231 volumes per year. In the third year 
of its establishment the daily issue was 231, the aggregate 
issue for the year 64,598 volumes. In the fourth year the 
daily issue was 257, the aggregate for the year being 
77,395 volumes. In the fifth year the daily issue was 
305 volumes per day, and the yearly aggregate 91,763. 
In the sixth year the daily issue was 319, and the 
aggregate issue close upon 96,000. In the seventh year 
the daily issue was 296, and the aggregate during the 
year 89,000. During the last year ending September, 
1865. the daily issue was 318, and the aggregate for the 
year nearly 96,000 volumes. If those who were now 
sitting before him had been the committee who had the 
management of this library, they would say that an 
institution which issued 96,000 books in the course of the 
year deserved a better and more commodious lodging 
than that in which the library was then located. There 
was thus abundant evidence for supposing that a larger 
number of readers would present themselves, and that a 
much larger number of volumes would be issued if the 
accommodation was increased. So thought the com- 
mittee, and they brought the subject before the council, 
who, he was happy to say, approved of it, and authorised 
the erection of the handsome building they had met to 
inaugurate. When the library was first opened there were 
only 3,036 volumes in it, but last September it contained 
more than double that number. In order to give the meet- 
ing some idea of the class of works of which the library 
consisted, he would read to them a few statistics of the 
classification. On theology and philosophy there were 
187 volumes ; history, biography, voyages, and travels, 
1,957; politics, commerce, &c., 87; science and arts, 510; 
general literature, 3,730 ; and books for the blind, 20. 
He wished to make one or two remarks with reference to 
those books for the blind. Some time ago it was 
suggested that they should have in their free libraries a 
complete set of the Holy Scriptures, printed in embossed 


characters for the use of the bhnd. The cost was con- 
siderable, but the committee incurred the cost, and 
divided the books amongst the branch hbraries, so that 
in every branch there would now be found some portion 
of the Holy Scriptures, which the blind might have the 
use of by applying for. The result had been in every 
way satisfactory, and he believed the books had been a 
source of comfort to those who were to some extent shut 
out from society by the loss of sight. Light literature 
seemed to be in the greatest demand by the readers, but 
works of a heavier character received a very fair share of 
attention. In the annual report of the Manchester 
Public Free Libraries there are classified tables as to the 
kind of books that are read. He had now lying before 
him the report for the year 1864, from which he would 
give examples of some of the issues in Hulme. First, as 
regards the Magazines : Temple Bar, CornJiill, London 
Society, Once a Week, All the Year Round, and Chambers' 
Journal were issued between 40 and 50 times in the 
course of the year ; Lamb's Tales from Shakspere, 
Lloyd's Scandinavian Adventures, Kinglake's Crimean 
War, Livingstone's Travels in Africa, and Waugh's 
Lancashire Sketches were issued between 30 and 40 
times in the course of the year ; Macaulay, Du Chaillu, 
Smiles, Ruskin, Bunyan, Colenso, Fox, Arnold, and 
Robertson were favourite authors. The Steam-Engine, 
Arithmetic, Book-keeping, Political Economy, Chemis- 
try, and Music were subjects which came in for their 
share of attention. In the nth report, the authors of 
prose fiction most read were set down, and Bulwer 
Lytton was at the head of them ; then followed Cooper, 
De Stael, Dickens, Ainsworth, and Sir Walter Scott. 
Poetry had its readers, and Tennyson, Moore, Byron, 
Longfellow, Burns, and Scott had their respective 
admirers. He was not aware he could tell them any- 
thing more about the Library, but he might say a 
few words about the Newsroom. The number of 
daily visitors to this in i860, was 327 ; in 1861, 364 ; in 
1864, 378; and in 1865, 400. Gentlemen who knew 
how small and inadequate for such a purpose were the 
rooms in the building recently occupied as a Free 
Library would, he was sure, wonder how there could 
have been so many as 400 persons frequenting them 
daily ; and would agree with him in saying that it was 


quite time an effort should be made to afford greater 
accommodation than they had hitherto possessed. Jt 
had been recorded that when the poll was taken in 
Hulme for the adoption of the Free Libraries Act in 
Manchester, six ratepayers voted at the township office 
of Hulme against it. He wished those six persons were 
present, that they might hear the statement he had made 
as to the success of Free Libraries here ; for if they did 
he felt sure they would admit themselves in error, and 
would make every effort to establish them now where 
not established. The design of the new building origi- 
nated in the surveyors' department of the Manchester 
Town Hall. How well it was adapted for the purpose, 
had been mentioned to him by many persons that night. 
The newsroom was fit for a queen to read in. One word 
as to the cost, and he had done ;^4,ooo was the amount 
which had been spent in its erection and internal fittings, 
and the land was subject to a chief rent of ^50. He 
hoped and trusted the inhabitants of Hulme would show 
their appreciation of it, and thus let the Libraries 
Committee see that their efforts in the erection of that 
building had not been in vain. 

The Mayor, Alderman Bowker, said : He had the 
greatest pleasure in appearing before them on that 
occasion, as he had been connected with the Man- 
chester Free Libraries from their commencement, and 
during the time they had been in the hands of the 
corporation. When first proposed, the value of Free 
Libraries was little understood. The public were afraid 
of them and looked upon them with jealousy ; in some 
places the proposition to establish them was rejected 
altogether. That shadow has passed away and a light 
has dawned upon the public mind. The experience of 
a dozen years has proved the immense benefit they are 
capable of conferring on the people. In conclusion, he 
would now declare the Hulme Branch Free Library 
open to the public, free of any charge whatever — the 
working man, the rich and poor, high and low, had a 
right to enter its doors and avail themselves of the 
advantages it offered. He hoped the inhabitants of 
Hulme, who had hitherto used the library to an extent 
which did them great credit, would use it still more, 
especially as they would now have a beautiful and com- 


fortable reading-room, in which they would find it far 
more profitable to spend an hour than spending their 
time in a beer-house or public-house. 

The Rev. F. C. Woodhouse, M.A., Rector of St. 
Mary's, Hulme, read the following sentiment — 

That this meeting expresses its hearty gratification 
at the establishment of a Branch Free Library 
in Hulme, and said 

It afforded him much pleasure to take part in the 
proceedings of that day, and to see the Hulme Branch of 
the Free Library transferred to a more commodious and 
more worthy building ; for the work which they were 
doing that day was one that would be beneficial not to 
the present generation only, but to many generations to 
come. It would afford to all persons, especially to those 
who might otherwise be deprived of it, the privilege of 
access to a good library of entertaining, instructive, 
improving books— no small advantage this. For, what 
do we mean by books, but the written thoughts of the 
minds of men — men perhaps long dead, but still living 
to us in their works — men who have been highly gifted 
by nature, and who have improved their gifts by culture 
and by years of study and labour, and whose learning 
and experience and discoveries are open to us in the 
pages they have handed down to us. The labour of a 
life — the deep thoughts of the greatest minds, — these are 
free to us, and we may make ourselves the happy 
possessors of them by the perusal of a moderate-sized 
volume ; so that where a life of mental labour ended we 
may begin, and reap the rich harvest which others have 
sown and toiled long to secure. The foundations are laid, 
the materials are supplied, it only requires a little steady 
labour, a little perseverance, and withal a most pleasurable 
occupation of time to gain a store of knowledge which 
generations before us never could attain to, and which will 
be to the possessor a never-failing source of satisfaction — a 
real exaltation of his character and mental status,and itself 
a foundation whereon to build fresh structures in one or 
other of the almost numberless departments of knowledge. 
All of us know the pleasure of walking through beautiful 
parks and gardens ; we see and enjoy the soft, elastic 
turf, the wide slopes, the graceful undulations, and the 
shady woods ; we revel in the sweet scent of flowers. 


and gaze with delight at their lovely colours and graceful 
forms. The floral wealth of the world is gathered for 
our enjoyment; tropical plants of strange form, exquisite 
foliage, delicate pencillings, infinite variety, all this is ours 
for the time, the owner cannot monopolize the whole 
fruits of his taste, and labour, and expenditure, and he 
seldom is so selfish as to wish it ; if only we have the 
taste and feeling to appreciate all the wonders and 
beauties gathered at that place, then, for the time at 
least, they are ours, and we need envy no one, but rather 
rejoice in our present pleasure, and come away refined 
and refreshed, having our minds stored with many a 
pleasant thought, and our imagination raised from sensual 
and sordid things to things high, and pure, and lovely, 
worthy of the attention of intelligent and immortal beings 
made in the image of God. And is not the great world 
of books a field of pleasure of such a kind ? From every 
quarter of the world, from every country, there is a 
contribution of literary wealth of thoughts, of experience, 
of imagination, free to all ; history, science, biography, 
poetry, travels, with all their varied treasures, suited to 
the tastes of every class of readers ; instruction for the 
enquiring, thoughts for the thoughtful, experience for 
those who are wise enough to feel their want of it, an 
endless supply for the endless demand for knowledge, 
which the mind of man, rightly exercised, is sure to 
make. Hear what the great Lord Bacon said about 
books : 'The images of men's wits and knowledges 
remain in books, exempted from the wrongs of time, and 
capable of perpetual renovation. Neither are they fitly 
called images, because they generate still, and cast their 
seeds into the minds of others, provoking and causing 
infinite actions and opinions in succeeding ages ; so 
that if the invention of the ship was thought noble, 
which carrieth riches and commodities from place to 
place, and consociateth the most remote regions in parti- 
cipation of their fruits, how much more are letters to be 
magnified, which, as ships, pass through the vast seas of 
time, and make ages so distant to participate of wisdom, 
illuminations, and inventions, the one of the other.' 
Surely these words may be re-echoed by anyone who 
has head and heart, and who has sympathy with the 
wondrous powers of the human mind — the deep yearn- 
ings of the human heart — the great and varied doings of 



men in all ages and in all parts of the world. And if 
Lord Bacon spoke in this way of books in his day, what 
would he say if he could live now in the midst of the 
wonderful supply of books, so vastly greater than 
he ever knew or imagined ? for now the difficulty is not 
so much to get books on any subject as to find time to 
read them. In this busy age, and pre-eminently in this 
busy place, most men have more to do than they have time 
to do it in. But, at any rate, the want of means to buy 
books need not hinder those who have the desire to 
read ; for these free libraries bring almost to a man's door 
the means of gratifying his wishes in a way that no 
former generation ever enjoyed. But, while we say this, 
we must not forget that upwards of 200 years ago the 
good Humphrey Chetham founded the first free library in 
England, here in Manchester. And we should especially 
remember it to-day, when we are engaged in promoting 
the same good work in a more extended way. In this 
work, then, he rejoiced to take part, in however humble 
a way, feeling sure that in that noble room, that day 
opened, thousands will find pleasure that will entail no 
regrets, wealth that will bring with it no cares, and which 
none can take away, employment suitable for the mind 
in every stage of life from youth to age, and gain that 
will make no one else poorer. 

Councillor Marshall said that the first premises 
used for the Hulme Branch Free Library were at a 
rental of ^^38 a year, which after a short time were found 
insufficient for the purpose, and other premises were 
taken at a rent of £60 a year. Municipal institutions 
were without doubt of great advantage to the community, 
particularly to out-townships. If Hulme had been left 
to itself, it would have been many years before it could 
have reared such a beautiful structure as had been that 
day opened by the Mayor. He believed that the opening 
of a Branch Library was an epoch in the history of 
Hulme, and that this day's proceedings would also be 
considered a circumstance to remember with pleasure. 
He considered free libraries as institutions of a progres- 
sive age — institutions aiding, in a material degree, the 
enlightened civilisation of the day. He for one looked 
forward to the time when such advantages would arise 
from these and kindred institutions as the present age 
could scarcely conceive. 


Mr. Richard Havvorth said that it was the first 
time he had had the pleasure and opportunity of being 
on these premises. He often passed them, and ahvays 
admired them. He thought the buildings did great 
credit to the Committee who had had charge of their 
erection. They were substantial, commodious, con- 
venient, central, and sufficiently ornamental ; for, whilst 
there was an entire absence of everything pretentious, 
yet they combined so much beauty of architecture as to 
command attention and elevate the tastes of the people. 
The sentiment put into his hand was — 

That this meeting expresses its hearty gratification 
at the establishment of the Branch Free Library 
in Hulme. 

The thought which lay at the foundation of this reso- 
lution was, that a free library was a good thing, and 
fortunately at present there were very few if any 
who doubted its usefulness, for, the experience of society 
since its establishment had been such as to remove all 
question of its utility, it is now an admitted fact. Then, 
if a free library was a good thing, it was important its 
benefits should be brought within the reach of those for 
whose use it was intended, that they might have no 
difficulty in availing themselves of its advantages, hence, 
this meeting had reason ' to express its hearty grati- 
fication at the establishment of this Branch Library in 
Hulme,' for the situation is so central, and the conditions 
so simple and reasonable, that none need be deprived of 
its use who are at all worthy of its privileges. Reference 
was made by the Rev. Mr. VVoodhouse to the Chetham 
Library. It was a library that reflected great credit and 
honor upon the princely person who left the money for 
its endowment, but it had unfortunately been of com- 
paratively little service from the fact of its having so 
many conditions and limitations, such as, for instance, 
that the books must be read on the premises, at hours 
which virtually exclude the mass of the people ; and 
although many books in that library are of immense 
value as works of reference, yet the great bulk of them 
are not such as the people generally take an interest in. 
The Public Free Library endeavoured to meet these 
objections in supplying what the people require — in 


meeting their circumstances as far as practicable, by 
establishing branch libraries. 

The Rev. James Gwyther said it had been his 
privilege to labour for nearly forty years amongst the 
population of Hulme, and to-day he seemed to feel a 
deeper interest in the township than he had ever done 
before. He looked back and traced with great delight 
the progress which had been made, and for much that 
had been done he offered, in the name of his fellow- 
townsmen, his warm and grateful thanks to the 
Corporation of Manchester. When first he came to 
reside here, Hulme was a far different place to what was 
seen to-day. Its unpaved streets and defective police 
arrangements were things of the past. Of public 
buildings, St. George's Church was the only one that 
deserved the name. That was then an ornament, and it 
continued to be an ornament to the township ; but 
much had been done since then, both to improve and 
adorn. Much of this was due to the intelligent activity 
of the Corporation ; and among the good things which 
they had done there was nothing which yielded to his 
mind more thorough satisfaction than the erection of 
the noble pile of buildings in which the meeting had 
now assembled. Not only were the arrangements 
excellent, and the accommodation suited to the various 
purposes for which the hall was intended, but the taste 
displayed, both on the interior and exterior, gave to the 
whole an educational and refining character. This 
quality enhanced its value — whilst it gratified the eye it 
refined the taste, and would minister to the self-respect 
of the people, so that their fellow-townsmen might well 
be proud of the hall in which they were met, and 
especially of the noble Library which was that day 
opened. The resolution which he had been requested 
to move was that ' recognising the value of reading as 
a means of elevating the public taste, this meeting 
rejoices in the erection of this commodious building in 
Hulme for a Free Library and Newsroom.' Who, he 
asked, could have heard, without a blush, reflections 
which had been, not unjustly, cast upon the country 
for the ignorance and moral degradation, for the 
removal of which too little had yet been done? 
But all was not dark. Besides the establishment of 


schools, something else had been done and was doing to 
awaken a desire for knowledge, to quicken the intellect, 
refine the tastes, and elevate the feelings. He spoke not 
now of direct moral or religious means, but of indirect 
and powerful agencies. The penny newspaper had been 
and was a mighty agent ; the improved class of light 
literature, as well as of scientific information which was 
flowing so plentifully from the press, had accomplished 
much, and would mightily help forward the work. And 
now that the artizans, and every other man in the com- 
munity had free access to a large, handsome, well- 
ventilated, and well-lighted room, well furnished with 
newspapers and periodicals, with an extensive and well 
furnished library at his command, it might be hoped that 
many would be detached from those haunts where the 
indulgences only debase and degrade. That many had 
already found rich benefits could not be doubted. Of 
these, some instances were already known ; one example 
he would name. A youth, well known to him, had been 
employed in a warehouse in the city. Having an hour 
and a quarter allowed for dinner, he regularly spent 
three-quarters of an hour in the Library in Campfield. 
Nor was it in works of fiction his time had been spent. 
Of these he had no complaint to make when the style 
was pure and the sentiment healthful ; for recreation 
they served an important purpose. But this young 
man's choice was history ; and after feasting upon the 
enchanting pages of Macaulay, he followed a steady 
course of historical reading, and his present well-stored 
mind owed much that it had attained to the admirable 
facilities which the Free Library first placed within his 
reach. Following in a corresponding course, he trusted 
many would in future years speak of this branch of the 
Library as having done much, very much, to raise their 
tastes and elevate their minds, training them to be 
intelligent and active citizens, and large-hearted 
patriots — an honour to their country, and a blessing to 
the world. 

The Rev. Canon Toole said he had great pleasure 
in supporting the sentiment which had been proposed 
and seconded, and also in adding his share to the general 
congratulation on the event of the evening, as well as 
the tribute of his admiration to that which had been 


already expressed respecting the beauty and fitness of 
the new library. He considered the library as a most 
beneficial institution. It would enable the youth of 
Hulme to continue the education which had begun in 
their boyhood's years, and as their minds became more 
matured, sound and truthful books obtained from it 
would furnish the material by which they might extend 
the boundary and scope of that first education, which 
time and other circumstances had limited. In the 
language of the sentiment that had been proposed to 
them, it would be the ' means of elevating the public 
taste,' by making the public familiar with the acquire- 
ments of those who were profound in learning, and with 
the sentiments and words of those who possessed noble, 
refined, and cultivated minds. This was indeed a benefit 
of the highest importance to a community. There was 
another ground for his congratulations with his fellow 
citizens on this occasion, that this library would be the 
means of increasing the sum of happiness, of domestic 
happiness, in so many families. It would provide them 
not only with instruction in literature, in history, in art 
• and science, but it would also contribute its share, and a 
great share, to many a cheerfully spent evening around 
the hearth of home. Whilst the household would listen 
to the readers of its books, age would forget its cares in 
the interest of some narrative, and youth would fill its 
mind with new ideas of beauty and of wisdom as it 
would hear of the wonders of foreign travel, or 
appropriate the thoughts of some meditative author. It 
would increase happiness, for it would add to the comforts 
and the joys of home, and be the means to win men 
away from the haunts of folly and of dissipation, where 
too many seek for pleasure in vain ; it would teach them 
to find a more real, more exalted, and more permanent 
pleasure ; one, if properly, virtuously, and truthfully 
directed, unstained by guilt and unfollowed by remorse. 
He gave his most cordial support to the sentiment. 

The Rev. George Bowden moved — 

May the inhabitants of the district, by largely availing 
themselves of the Library and Newsroom, testify 
their appreciation of the great institution which 
is this evening inaugurated. 

He then said : As pledged by my sacred calling to 


do all I can for the destruction of ignorance and wrong, 
I have much pleasure in taking part in the proceedings 
of this evening, for I reckon this institution will be a 
grand engine, helping in the destruction of many forms 
of ignorance and wrong. Macaulay says that any given 
generation very much resembles a caravan in the desert, 
which, looking behind, sees waters, groves, and herbage ; 
and looking before, sees also waters, groves, and herbage ; 
while underneath, and near to it, all is barren, brown, 
and bare. But the scene behind and before is an illusion. 
It is the mirage they soon discover if they investigate by 
returning or pressing forward. This was scarcely the 
thought of that Hulme generation which was gathered 
in that room. They seemed well satisfied with the pre- 
sent, and not disposed to be robbed of their present 
gratification either by * the former days were better than 
these,' or, ' there is a good time coming.' And yet there 
was a sense in which they resembled the caravan. 
According to addresses delivered there that night, they 
saw in the Hulme of the past, green fields and running 
streams ; and in the Hulme to come, in their projected 
new park saw also the trees and swards of good days to 
come. The resolution I have to move is an earnest 
invitation from the Libraries Committee to the in- 
habitants of this district. The sentiment is ^Coine!' 
Come all of you. Come soon. Come often. We have 
selected the fattest and best of our intellectual flocks and 
herds ; our shelves are filled with the best thoughts of 
the men of the past ; our tables are spread with the best 
thoughts of the men of the present on passing events ; 
we have that which is substantial and nutritious ; we have 
that which is light and pleasant. Come, and devour what 
we have provided. We want you to prefer the choice 
spirits on our shelves, rather than the spirits on some 
other shelves hard by. We want you to relish the punch 
of our counters rather than that which is offered too 
plentifully near. Choose Macaulay, Reid, Brown, Scott, 
Thackeray & Co., before Old Tom, Allsopp, Barclay, 
Perkins & Co. The value of this institution will much 
depend on the facilities given for access to it. I enquired 
from the chairman of the Free Libraries Committee 
' what were the conditions on which a man could enter 
and use the newsroom ? ' ' He must be decently dressed, 
and conduct himself properly ; that is all ' I thought. 


' decently dressed ! ' that is a phrase that may have an 
awkward and unpleasant application by some officious 
doorkeeper, so I said, ' what do you mean, sir, by being 
decently dressed ? ' 'I mean ' was the reply, ' we could 
not do with a sweep in his working dress, or a man 
filthy.' ' Oh ! ' I said, ' then you mean that any man 
who is clean, and who keeps the rules, may enter 
in and avail himself, without questioning, of your 
provision?' 'Yes,' was the answer. So it matters 
not whether the dress is cotton or wool, coarse or fine, 
old or new, you may come and welcome, if you are 
only clean and you keep the rules. We often find 
that common blessings are least valued, and cheap 
things little prized. Ladies are not the only people 
who like things better for being ' far fetched and dear 
bought.' It seems as though vegetables were only valu- 
able as they were three months before their season. [ 
have often longed to see in the gentleman's garden some 
of the old English flowers. How precious to Dr. Carey, 
in India, was the daisy, which we do not notice. How 
honoured is the sparrow in Australia, and how despised 
here. If a glass of water cost as much as champagne, 
we should value it more. Let it be that you shall prize 
this institution according to its real worth ; not only 
Jiave the Library, but appreciate it. This is a ' great 
institution.' It is so as an expression of the enlightened 
thought and generous sentiment of this city. It is an 
expression of the enlightened thought of the governing 
body. It shows that they think ' we exist for the good 
of those we govern.' That the people do not exist for 
the honour and aggrandisement of those who rule, but 
those who rule exist to seek the welfare of the people. 
I do not mean for a moment to endorse the sentiment, 
' the voice of the people is the voice of God.' I believe 
in minorities. I believe in a higher source of law and of 
enlightened policy than the mere will of the majority. 
The governing power does not exist to carry out the 
whims of the people. It does so, when it grants licenses 
to sell spirits to all who ask. But when it furnishes to 
the community a library for which there was no very 
loud demand, but which it saw would do the people 
good, it was then in advance of their tastes ; such an 
institution is an expression of enlightened thought. 
This institution is an expression of generous senti- 


merit. It says ' we do not want to monopolise the 
pleasures of knowledge to ourselves. We shall 
enjoy our subscription library and newsroom all 
the better when we know that those who have 
not the means of securing these things so easily 
themselves, are thus amply and freely supplied. We 
shall enjoy our newspaper and octavo the more because 
we know that you are not without them.' This institu- 
tion must exercise a great influence on the future. We 
shall have an extension of the franchise. I say this 
without committing myself to any special school of 
politicians. I speak to a fact which all acknowledge. 
It is necessary that they who receive the franchise 
should be educated to the exercise of that trust. They 
should know who are the leaders of thought in the land — 
who are the ablest statesmen. They should have access 
to the histories of nations, and treatises on political 
economy. They should see all sides of a question. If 
a man sees the newspaper at home, he takes in one 
paper, and sees matter on the one side on which the 
editor or proprietors present it. If a man read the Star, 
I would like him to see the Standard ; and if he read 
the Standard, I would that he should see the Times or 
the Star. The right and true never suffer by thorough 
scrutiny. Let him see all sides, and he will find that no 
one man or party yet engrossed all the goodness or all 
the wisdom. It was Dr. Payson's rule ' never live a day 
without trying to make some one happy.' I am glad to 
be the instrument of giving this invitation, because I see 
this institution will give to many much true pleasure. 
I see many an invalid's room brightened by the books 
from the library. I see many a home circle made more 
attractive and happy as the father or brother read aloud 
to the gathered household. I see many a little child 
looking out for his father's return home from the library 
and eagerly seizing the book to see if there are any 
pictures there. I see many a country walk made 
pleasanter by the knowledge of strata, of insects, or of 
plants gotten here. I see the little George Stephensons, 
John Kittos, and Hugh Millers, with eager faces and 
bright eyes, coming to renew their books, instead of 
standing in the cold at the old bookstall. Dr. Chalmers 
says, the present generation is the oldest and wisest, 
because it inherits the work, thought, and experience of 


the past. So it should be. But if it is to be so, then the 
stored-up thought and experience of the past which is 
found in books must be made easy of access to all. 

Mr. Councillor Nield moved — 

That the warmest thanks are due and are hereby 
tendered to the contributors of books to the Free 

In putting this resolution the Chairman said, — The 
Free Libraries Committee have only a limited sum of 
money at their disposal, namely, the produce of the 
penny rate, which for the present year may be set down 
in round numbers as ^^4,500. With this they have to 
meet the expenses of the Reference Library at Camp- 
field and the five Lending Libraries. How the money 
has hitherto been disposed of may be seen by anyone 
who will refer to the proceedings of the City Council. 
For the erection of the New Branch Library and News- 
room for Hulme, the opening of which had brought them 
together that evening, the Committee have had to borrow 
money, and a Sinking Fund has had, consequently, to be 
established for the discharge of such loan, which will 
absorb a certain sum of money per annum out of the 
amount of the penny rate. The wear and tear of books 
in the Lending Libraries forms a considerable item of 
expenditure, and that item will be geatly increased by 
the additional readers who will come to the commodious 
building they had just finished. Of this wear and tear 
they might form some idea, when he informed them that 
within the last month 700 volumes had been thrown out 
of the Hulme Branch Library as unfit for use, and they 
have been replaced with an addition making together 
1,000 volumes, while there is room on the shelves for 
1,000 volumes more. Now, if gentlemen will assist the 
Committee by the contribution of books, they will be 
rendering efficient aid in furtherance of the objects for 
which these lending libraries were established. They 
will be doing a great service to the Committee and to the 
community in which they live— service, about the utility 
of which there can be no question. 

A vote of thanks to Mr. Baker for presiding at the 
meeting concluded the proceedings. 

The Hulme Branch building is in the Italian style 


and of brick, with front elevation of stone. The interior 
is divided by a glass screen into two parts, the one 
nearest the entrance forming the library, and the other, 
which is reached by passing through the library, forms the 
newsroom. The newsroom is a spacious hall about forty- 
seven by forty-three feet, open to the roof and lighted on 
three sides. Stands, on which newspapers are placed, run 
round the walls. Tables are also ranged along the centre, 
on which upwards of 120 current numbers of periodicals 
are placed, and the bareness of the walls is relieved by a 
number of engravings. 

The library has shelf-room for about 20,000 volumes. 
The accommodation which was more than ample when 
the building was opened in 1866, has again become 
inadequate, and the committee have by way of relieving 
the pressure to some extent, formed a boys' reading-room 
in the basement. This room, which was opened on 
September 6th, 1880, provides for over 200 boys. 


This worthy accomplishment did not exhaust the 
activities of the Committee during the record year of 
1866, for on October 6th another, the fourth, branch 
library was opened for the accommodation of the inhabi- 
tants of the district of Chorlton and Ardwick. 

The proceedings commenced with a Soiree, which was 
followed by a Public Meeting in the Congregational 
Schoolroom, next to the library building in Rusholme 
Road, which was densely crowded. The Meeting was 
presided over by Councillor Thomas Baker, Chairman 
of the Manchester Public Free Libraries Committee, who 
was supported by Wm. Bowker, Mayor of Manchester, 
the Earl of Shaftesbury, the Right Hon. Henry Austin 
Bruce, M.P. (afterwards Lord Aberdare) ; Edward James, 


Q.C., M.P.; D. Dudley Field, of New York ; Sir Eardley 
Wilmot, Bart; W. T. S. Daniel, Q.C.; Wm. Fairbairn, 
L.L.D., F.R.S.; Robt. N. Philips, M.P.; Dr. Neilson 
Hancock (Dublin) ; Rev. J. Oakley (London) ; Rev. W. 
C. Van Meter (Founder of Howard's Mission and Home 
for little Wanderers, New York); T. P. Bunting, the Rev. 
Alexander Thompson, A.M. (Independent) ; Thomas 
Ashton, John Kendall, (Master of Chorlton High 
School); Samuel Crompton, M.D.; Charles Swallow; 
Messrs. Aldermen Nicholls, Curtis, Crewdson, Rumney, 
and Clark; Councillors Brougham, Worthington, Ingham, 
Wm. Booth, Hampson, Woodward, Murray, Nield, Ver- 
tegans, Marshall, Charles Thompson, Craston, Warburton, 
Hopkinson, Groome, Hope, King, Woodhouse, Anderton, 
Ashton, Livesley, Clowes, Dyson ; Mr. Lynde, City Sur- 
veyor ; and Mr. Talbot, Assistant Town Clerk. 

The Chairman, in opening the meeting, said : — They 
had met that evening to celebrate the inauguration of a 
new Branch of the Free Lending Library for that city. 
During the past year the four lending libraries already 
existing had circulated upwards of 316,000 volumes,or an 
average of more than i ,000 volumes per day. They 
might be sure that from such a circulation there must be 
very great wear and tear of books, some idea of which 
might be formed when he told them that during the last 
twelve months about 1,700 volumes had been thrown out 
of circulation as unfit for use. The appearance of these 
volumes suggested to him the desirability of ascertaining 
the length of time they had been in circulation, and the 
number of borrowers through whose hands they had 
passed. On expressing his desire to have some infor- 
mation on these points to their chief librarian, Mr. 
Crestadoro, he undertook to make the necessary investi- 
gation and communicate the result. And now that he 
had mentioned the name of Mr. Crestadoro, he thought 
he ought not to allow the opportunity to pass without 
bearing his humble testimony to the zeal, the ability, and 
the unpretending demeanour of that gentleman. If the 
libraries had been a success, he deserved to share the 


credit of it equally with the Free Libraries Commitee. 
Mr. Crestadoro furnished him with a report — and mark, 
it was a report prepared for his private use, at a time 
when this meeting was not thought of, so that they might 
take it as being a simple statement of the result of his 
inquiries. Sixteen books had been taken at random, 
four from each Lending Library, and on being 
examined as to the service rendered by each before 
being laid aside as unfit for use, it was found that each 
volume had on an average been issued 212 times, and 
that during its circulation it had been bound and 
rebound three times, exclusive of its service in its 
original cloth binding. Examples : The False Heir, 
by Power, had been issued 163 times in its original 
cloth boards, 140 times after its first binding, and 
52 times after its second binding ; total issues, 
355 times. You will all admit that this book 
has done its duty. The Hunter's Feast, by Reid, 
was bound and placed in circulation in May, i86r, 
and issued 72 times ; it was rebound in January, 

1863, and issued 72 times ; it was bound a third 
time in June, 1864, and issued 50 times ; it was bound a 
fourth time in April, 1865, and issued 46 times, the last 
issue being in May, 1866; total issues, 260 times — 
duration of service, five years. Con Cregan, by Lever, 
was placed in circulation in its original cloth boards in 
May, 1863, and issued 40 times ; it was bound in June, 

1864, and issued 42 times ; the last issue was dated June 
1 2th, 1865 ; total issues, 82 times,— service two years. 
Once a Week, vol, 4, bound and circulated in September 
i86i,and issued 125 times; rebound in December, 1863, 
and issued 58 times; last issue, July nth, 1865 ; total 
issues, 183 times, — service three years and eight months. 
Some interesting results arise out of this investigation. 
One volume is read 355 times before it becomes unfit for 
use, while another is worn out after 82 times reading. This 
difference is to be accounted for in several ways. The qual- 
ity of the paper, the extent of margin, and the goodness 
of the first binding all enter into the calculation, for if the 
paper is good, the margin ample, and the volume well 
bound in the first instance, it will stand more wear and 
tear than a volume printed on poor paper with a small 
margin and whose binding is inferior. Hence it will appear 
that cheap literature may not be cheap to a lending library. 


He would now advert to the origin of the Branch Library, 
the inauguration of which they were met to celebrate. 
The increasing population of the south and south-west 
sides of the city suggested to the Free Libraries 
Committee the necessity of having another Branch 
Lending Library between Hulme and Ancoats, and the 
Council, on being appealed to, gave the Committee 
authority to purchase the land and building adjoining 
the room in which they were assembled. Certain 
alterations and additions were necessary for adapting 
the premises to the purposes of a library and newsroom, 
and the Committee called in the aid of Mr. Alfred 
Waterhouse as their architect. The ability with which 
he had discharged the task imposed upon him they who 
had gone over the building that evening would be able 
to judge of equally with himself They would have 
perceived how spacious and convenient the library was ; 
how spacious also and lofty the newsroom with its open 
gothic roof The cost of the building was ^4,000,. 
without the books, of which they had placed about 4,800 
volumes on the shelves, a larger number than had at 
the commencement been put in any other of the branch 
lending libraries. The shelves would hold double that 
number, and if the gentlemen present had any books 
which they were willing to give, the Libraries Com- 
mittee would thankfully receive them. They might 
perhaps be surprised that the Committee were not able 
to do more in supplying, at its opening, a library of that 
character, but the amount of money received from the 
id. rate was only about ;^4,ooo per annum, of which 
they had for some years past been able to appropriate 
only ;^i,000 per annum in the purchase and binding of 
books. The aggregate number of volumes in the four 
Lending Libraries was 40,000 ; when they got that 
branch in full operation and the shelves filled they 
would have an aggregate number of 50,000. That 
would give them a circulation of about 1,300 volumes 
per day. The amount of practical good which must 
result from such a circulation he would leave them 
to judge, but that the effect, both moral and 
intellectual, must be very great there could be no 
question. They might not have amongst the readers 
any mute inglorious Milton ; they might not have any 
Dalton, or Watt, or Arkwright, but he knew they had 


many quiet students who applied themselves diligently 
to the literature which was put within their reach, 
and there was nothing extravagant in believing that 
amongst the 30,000 readers who annually used the 
Reference Department for the purpose of studying the 
specifications of patents, there would be some who, by 
their discoveries or inventions, would hereafter become 
benefactors to their race, and do their fellow-creatures 
and the State some service. He believed, too, that their 
Lending Libraries had already been of great use in 
making the social position of masters and workmen 
better understood. The principle was being admitted 
that capital and labour were not opposed, but were 
mutually dependent and supporting, and people were 
beginning to see that there was not necessarily anything 
antagonistic in the relative position of master and work- 
man. He was not aware that anything more remained 
for him to touch upon, except that he believed the News- 
room about to be opened would be a success. It was so 
in the Hulme Branch, where he had gone frequently in 
the evening, and counted as many as 200 readers in it at 
one time. There was every reason for believing that 
the Newsroom attached to this New Branch for Chorlton 
and Ardwick would be as well frequented. 

The Mayor (William Bowker), said the duty he 
had to perform was the simple one of declaring the 
Rusholme Road Branch Free Library open to the 
public. He had had the pleasure and satisfaction of work- 
ing in connection with the Manchester Free Libraries 
since their commencement. He had watched their 
progress from that time, had seen their extension by 
one branch after another being established, and had 
witnessed the great good they had effected amongst the 
working classes by drawing them from the beerhouses 
to which they would otherwise have resorted. Some 
time ago, the Committee purchased a chapel adjacent to 
the building they were then assembled in, which they 
had coverted into a Free Library, and he believed it 
would be a great blessing to the district for which it 
was intended. Its doors were now thrown open. It 
invited the inhabitants to come in and see the rich stores 
placed therein by the Committee. The greatest reward 
which the Committee could receive for their labours was 


that the public would avail themselves of the facilities 
thus provided for them. The Committee were now about 
building a Branch Library in the neighbourhood of 
Ancoats, and he believed they would not rest satisfied 
until they had placed within reach of the working men 
of Manchester such an opportunity of acquiring know- 
ledge as they would not be slow in taking advantage of. 
When he was a young man there were no such advan- 
tages as now existed ; newspapers were 5d., 6d., and /d. 
each ; now they could have plenty of excellent yet cheap 
papers, plenty of literature, both light and heavy, which 
required greater care and study. He was sure that the 
advantages of the present day had only to be seized to 
be appreciated, and if people would only avail themselves 
of that Free Library they would be better citizens, and 
many of them would hold a better place in society than 
they now do ; for they would, by their studies, be made 
better men. This was a free and open country, where 
every man's talents and energies were recognised, but 
many a man was lost through not cultivating the talents 
with which God had blessed him. 

The Earl of Shaftesbury next addressed the meet- 
ing. He said that when their secretary requested him 
to come there and move a resolution, he confessed he 
was not prepared for such a gathering as that ; and, to 
tell the truth, he felt a little shy. But still he must take 
courage, for that was the third public meeting he had 
attended that day. The meeting he now addressed he 
must consider as the cream of the men of Manchester ; one 
of those he attended that day — a grand gathering of the 
ragged class — he might probably consider the skimmed 
milk. He went down to one of the worst parts of 
Manchester for the purpose of laying the foundation- 
stone of a ragged school, and he trusted that they, who 
had raised themselves to the benefits and blessings they 
now enjoyed, would do all that lay in their power to 
raise those lower parts of this great city to the level of 
their own enjoyment. Whether it was in the cream or 
in the skimmed milk he saw the same characteristics 
of Lancashire men ; the same earnestness of purpose ; 
the same warmth of heart ; the same determination, 
and all those noble characteristics that had been 
long peculiar to the northern parts of this country, 


but especially to the people of Lancashire. When 
he saw those men and women, dirty as they were, 
and the children dirtier and more ragged, he saw 
it in the expression of their eyes, in the earnest 
attention they gave to the words he spoke to them, in 
the uncommon zeal with which they pursued him after- 
wards to shake hands with him. He saw seeds of 
nobleness in them, and felt that, if by God's grace they 
could but lift those people out of the mire, they would 
be fitted to rank with the princes of the earth. It was 
his good fortune to be present at the foundation of the 
Free Libraries, a great many years ago, and to attend 
the original opening meeting. He then saw that great 
benefits would result from the institution, but he was not 
prepared for such large results in so short a space of 
time. He now came there, and found that which was a 
child had grown up to be a married person, with four 
big, stout children. He hoped these big, stout children 
would soon have equally big, stout grandchildren. And 
he hoped the whole race would imitate the virtues and 
the efficiencies of the parent stock. He had been very 
much struck with the details given by their worthy 
Chairman, as to the manner in which the various books 
had been used. No doubt there was a great prevalence 
of taste for works of fiction, and he was not going to 
blame them for it. People engaged in the tedium of 
life, in the details of daily work, required to have their 
minds refreshed by going out of the spheres in which 
their business threw them ; still, it would be better if 
they would mix with the light a little of the graver 
kind of literature — a little wine with the water. When 
the Chairman stated that one book had been so frequently 
used that it had been four times bound, it reminded 
him of a story once told by a friend of his who, whilst 
reading a book, was addressed by a person as follows: 
' I say, friend, you have got a very learned book there ; 
there is a great deal in it about the urim and thummim. 
Do you understand all that ? ' ' Well,' replied his friend, 
' I don't understand anything about urim and thummim, 
but I knows how to use him and thumb him.' Their 
Lending Library was an admirable institution, because 
it admitted the women into the participation of the 
husband's privileges, by enabling the men to take books 
home, and thus combine domestic happiness and duty 



with literary acquisition. This he considered a great 
blessing, because, where husbands attended clubs for 
social intercourse the women did not participate in the 
benefits ; but here, a man might take out a book, carry 
it home, and read it to his wife and children. He 
contended, therefore, that they had founded an institution 
upon the very best principle, and one which could not 
fail to produce great good amongst them. He hoped, 
then, that they would recollect what great blessings they 
now enjoyed, what benefits were now put within their 
reach, and what opportunities were now offered for 
their mental,moral,and spiritual culture, which constituted 
the real life of man. Let them recollect that when they 
had raised themselves above the condition of mere toil 
they had advanced themselves in the dignity of thinking 
beings, and that toil and intellectual and moral dignity, 
were compatible in the highest degree. Why, who did 
they call a gentleman ? A gentleman was not essentially 
connected with high birth, nor the gifts of fortune ; they 
called a man a gentleman by ordinary courtesy because 
he happened to be in an important position in life, but 
the real essence of a gentleman lay in the heart, it lay 
in the character, it lay in the whole demeanour ; and he 
would almost undertake to say that all those ragged 
fellows he saw that afternoon might in a short time be 
converted into real gentlemen. Who was the finest 
specimen of a gentleman, he would ask ? Was there 
ever presented in the whole page of history a finer 
specimen of a gentleman than the apostle Paul? Let 
any one read his speech before Agrippa, or his epistle to 
Philemon, and then say whether it was possible to find 
more noble or gentlemanlike sentiments than those 
which fell from St. Paul. And why could not the artisan, 
the mechanic, or the cotton operative imitate that noble 
example, when he recollected that he himself occupied, 
in a worldly sense, as high a position as Paul the tent 
maker? Therefore, he maintained that the dignity of 
character, a high moral bearing, and everything that 
elevated man, were not incompatible with toil, and that 
in many instances toil facilitated intellectual advance- 
ment. The resolution or sentiment he had to move was, — 

The Chorlton and Ardwick Branch Free Library, 
and may the inhabitants appreciate the advantages 
it offered. 


He proposed that sincerely and with all his heart, for 
he trusted they would appreciate these advantages in all 
their bearings. Well did their worthy Mayor say that 
these institutions were antagonistic to the vilest 
institutions that ever crept into a city— the beerhouses 
and gin palaces. He trusted that every man who 
became a borrower, every man who availed himself of 
the blessings that Library offered, every man who took 
from it a book to read for his wife and children, every 
man who felt that by so doing he was advancing in the 
scale of social life, would heartily and openly protest 
against the establishment and extension of those great 
abominations that were the degradation of any nation, 
but which, he was afraid, were to a great extent the 
peculiar degradation of our own. 

Mr. Edward James, O.C., M.P., said he joined with 
them most heartily in the expression of thanks which had 
emanated from that large assembly and the noble lord 
who had just addressed them, to those who had provided 
the noble Institution which they were that night inaug- 
urating for the benefit of the poorer classes especially. 
Now, could anybody in that large assembly doubt that 
there were great advantages provided for them by the 
establishment of this Branch Library. Why establish 
institutions like this which they were then inaugurating ? 
The necessities of life would some day compel those who 
were brought up in ragged schools to resort to work for 
an honest living, and then it was that such institutions 
as free libraries would be of use to them ; for there, in 
the evenings, they could resort, free of all cost, and 
cultivate that intellect and those faculties with which 
God had endowed them. But for such institutions as 
free libraries, where would be the means of enabling such 
people as he had that afternoon seen in Charter Street 
to cultivate their minds? Once taught to read, they 
would read, and if they had no free libraries to resort to, 
they would be driven to read the cheap and degrading 
literature with which their land and age overflowed. 
They could not afford to buy valuable books, and hence 
if they could not do that, and could not resort to such 
places as these, there was no chance of their fostering 
and nurturing, and increasing those seeds of intelligence 
which the ragged schools had planted within them. All 


such, that noble Free Library invited to partake of that 
which it had provided. There, in a well-warmed, well- 
ventilated, well-lighted room, they could come and read 
the newspapers and periodicals, or borrow books to take 
home with them to read by their own firesides. Their 
opportunities were thus great, and he hoped they 
would duly appreciate them. There were others in the 
community, however, who were worthy of consideration. 
The noble Free Libraries, happily, were not destined for 
the use of any one particular class, but they were for the 
use of all classes of the community. As he had gone 
through the various Branch Libraries in Manchester, he 
had found, on inquiry, that of those who used them not 
a few were boys from school. He saw before him a 
goodly number of youths who no doubt attended school, 
and they would understand him when he said that he 
was much amused to find that even those youths who 
went to superior schools, and learnt Latin and Greek, 
came to these Free Libraries for the purpose of what 
the schoolmasters call 'cribbing,' that was, to get 
translations of their tasks. Well, he did not find fault, 
for even that was good. Some, perhaps, would say it 
was not just, but he held that in its use it was good. It 
was only in the abuse of the thing that it was evil. There 
was no harm in schoolboys coming to the Free Libraries to 
consult translations with the view of assisting them. That 
was another way in which these Libraries might be made 
useful ; but they were not established for schoolboys only, 
any more than for those who had been educated at the 
ragged schools. Lord Shaftesbury had called the attention 
of the meeting to one thing which was worthy of their con- 
sideration for a moment, inasmuch as he looked upon 
it as one of the greatest of evils. He should like to 
calculate the number of beer-shops, of taverns, and of 
spirit-vaults which where open in every street of this 
great city. Why were there, he wanted to know, so 
many of them } Why, he supposed it was on the 
ordinary principles of supply and demand. That it was 
so they might rest assured. No man would set up a 
tavern, vault, or beer-shop, unless it would pay him — 
and it would not pay him unless the people resorted 
there for the purpose of drinking. The more they 
could divert the attention of the people of this countr}- 
from the public-house, gin-shops, beer-shops, and places 


of that description, by opening such institutions as free 
libraries, and enable them to cultivate their minds, the 
more effectually would they diminish and put an end to 
the degrading vice of drunkenness, which now brought 
about so much misery, wretchedness, and crime. Hence, 
one of the advantages of that grand institution (the 
free libraries) was, that they might cultivate, not only 
the intellect, but the moral faculties of the people, and 
thus diminish crime and its evils throughout the land. 
But that was not all ; they had the advantage 
in that establishment of comfort, which he was 
sorry to say many in this great city did not 
enjoy at' their own homes, by their own firesides. 
The advantages of comfort, of heat, and of light, 
such as they found in that excellent Institution, 
were of no small consequence to those who came there 
to read ; and those who had not such advantages at 
home, to read their papers and books, would find them 
here in profusion. But there were times when the people 
who would fain go, could not — times of sickness, distress, 
old age — the times when it was of the greatest import- 
ance to the comforts of home, that they should have the 
opportunity there of reading and cultivating those 
faculties with which God had blessed them. With that 
view, the Free Libraries Committee had established 
these Branch Lending Libraries, and at such times as he 
had named, it was that they came into full force. But 
whether the books were borrowed and taken home from 
this Library, were read by the bed of sickness, or read in 
the Institution itself, by husband, wife, or child, the 
advantages derivable from the free lending libraries were 
incalculable ; and were it not for such libraries as they 
were opening, how could the poor, whether in 
sickness or in health, ever be able to secure the valuable 
books that they could borrow here, free from all cost ? 
They could never have the chance of reading them, for 
the expense would be too great. These, then, were some 
of the advantages produced by establishments like this ; 
and he earnestly besought them — the men, women, and 
children of Manchester — to seize those advantages, and 
appreciate them. 

Mr. Dudley Field, of New York, supported the 
resolution. He said he was sorry that his own city of 


New York had no library like that which they were now 
inaugurating. They had plenty of libraries, but they 
had there no free library like those in Manchester. The 
other day, when he was in Liverpool, he entered that 
noble free library there given by Sir William Brown, and 
was much struck by the fact that those who came there 
for books did not receive them as a favour, but as a right. 
Well, all he could say was, that here, too, in Manchester, 
they had in their free libraries one of the noblest 
institutions that man could court — an institution equal 
to all their wants — and, as far as he could judge, enough 
for all the population they were intended to serve. Now, 
with regard to the subject of education, he held that it 
was the duty of society to provide free education for 
all — rich and poor. In America, they made that a 
fundamental principle, believing, as they did, that it was 
far better to impart knowledge than to let people live in 
ignorance. Every person, man, woman, or child, girl or 
boy should be provided, at the cost of the State, with 
the means of free education ; and it was so in the State 
of New York. There they had large schools, with the 
best instructors, and every autumn there might be seen 
notifications posted in all the streets to the effect that 
those schools were then open to all children free — to rich 
and poor alike. No one entered there who was not 
welcome, and who was not taught as well as any other 
person — the rich and lowly side by side. He did not 
mean to say that there were no voluntary schools, but 
some of the richest persons in the state, as a matter of 
choice, sent their children to the public free schools rather 
than to the voluntary schools. 

The Rev. Alexander Thomson, M.A., minister of 
Rusholme Road Chapel, said that there was something, 
no doubt, appropriate and becoming in his addressing 
to the meeting a few observations, because of the position 
he held in relation to the schools in which they were 
assembled, if it were only to bid them welcome and to 
congratulate them on the work which had that night 
brought them there. But he came there not to speak, 
but to see and to hear ; and he must say that he had 
seen what had delighted him, and had heard what had 
both instructed and stimulated him, as he hoped they 
all had done. The object they had met to promote 


was one which ought to be highly prized by every true 
patriot ; for what must be the desire of every one who 
loved his country but this, — that all the advantages 
which had been acquired by that country, in the course 
of its progress, should be made accessible to every class 
of the community. Here we were in this noble England 
of ours, which was distinguished by the enjoyment of 
much wealth and prosperity, and by the possession of a 
free constitution handed down to us by our fathers ; and 
it seemed to him that it should be the desire of every 
man, that the advantages of that prosperity, and of that 
free constitution should be extended as far as possible 
to every class amongst us. But we had also the 
heritage of a literature such as no nation in the world 
had ever possessed before. We are in the habit of 
speaking of the Greek and Roman writers with 
admiration, and deservedly so, for they led the way as 
the original instructors of their own and of subsequent 
ages, but he thought that even the literature of Greece 
and Rome, and of other European nations, must rank 
far below the literature of our native land in depth, 
variety, and comprehensiveness of culture. To the 
enjoyment of these literary treasures they should seek 
to welcome all ranks of their countrymen, by placing 
them easily within their reach. He agreed that there 
was some use even in works of fiction ; but he hoped 
working men would ascend above these, and remember 
that our literature could boast such authors as Spenser, 
Shakspere, Pope, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and others 
among poets ; charming historians, also, like Hallam, 
Macaulay, and Froude ; and then there were books of 
travel that had recently appeared, full of the most 
delightful and instructive information, as well as being 
excellent reading for entertainment, by such men as 
Speke, Baker, Palgrave, Livingstone, and others. Such 
books as these he hoped would be sought out and read 
by many of the working men. These free libraries were 
admirable and useful institutions, but still they must not 
over-estimate their influence on society in the diffusion 
of knowledge. Knowledge did not necessarily imply 
either wisdom or goodness. A man might be a great 
reader and still be debased and immoral in character 
and conduct. Indeed there had lived many such 
men ; but after all they must look to the good which 


mental culture was fitted to promote, and not to the evil 
which sprung up in spite of its influence. They must 
look on the diffusion of knowledge as subsidiary to the 
advancement of religion and morals, as co-operating with 
higher influences, — as giving you a better hold of the 
minds of men, when you sought to lift them up to nobler 
heights, to catch a glimpse of the beauty and grandeur 
of divine truths. These free libraries would contribute 
to this by spreading the streams of literature over the 
face of society, among the industrial classes of this 
great city, just as the Nile in its inundation diffuses its 
fertilizing waters over the fields, covering them with a rich 
soil for future harvests. This done, it rested with our 
ministers and Sunday school teachers to sow the seed of 
heavenly truth on the soil which these Institutions had 
thus prepared. In that view, the Chorlton and Ardwick 
Branch Library, now opened, had the best wishes of 
himself and his fellow workers there, that it might 
accomplish all the good which its benevolent promoters 

Mr. Wm. Fairbairn, F.R.S., LL.D., said that, if he 
had consulted his own inclination, he should have 
deputed some of his friends to address them, as he was 
more in the constructive line than the speaking art. He 
could assure them that he should have been very glad 
to have avoided making a speech to that assembly. 
However, he would just say that he fully appreciated the 
great boon now conferred upon that district by the 
establishment of a Branch Free Library. He felt quite 
satisfied that no establishment, no institution could be of 
greater benefit or service to the community, especially to 
the working classes, than a Free Library. l"heir worthy 
Chairman had spoken of the great wear and tear of 
books. He hoped the wear and tear would be much 
greater still. He did not know of anything so calculated 
to improve men's minds as reading, and he considered 
that a taste for reading was a sure criterion of future 
distinction. If these Free Libraries could be extended 
.to the surrounding towns, they would prove of the 
greatest advantage to the public at large, for he felt sure 
that the intellectual and moral standard of the people 
would be raised by such privileges. He should be glad 
to see that noble and excellent institution prosper, and 
be a benefit to the public. 


The Right Hon. H. Austin Bruce, M.P., said that, 
among the many pleasant and instructive sights he 
had seen during his brief stay in Manchester, none 
had given him greater pleasure, none had afforded 
him more useful instruction than the visit he had 
paid to the Central Institution of these Free Libraries 
and its Branches. He understood the commence- 
ment of this Free Library was due to a citizen of 
Manchester, and he was sure the citizens of Man- 
chester felt proud of the liberality and wisdom of 
that gentleman ; but, after all, it was better that great 
institutions like these should be carried on by the local 
authorities ; they then felt that they were only getting 
what belonged to them — -what was their own. He 
heartily concurred with Mr. Field that it was the duty of 
the country — he did not say of the State — but it was the 
duty of the country, represented by its local authorities, 
to provide education for those that required it, at the 
public expense. He hoped that, when he next came to 
Manchester, this movement would have so far progressed 
that they would not be content with a rate of ^4,000 for 
its support, but that the sum would be five if not ten 
times that amount. Looking at the demand for amuse- 
ment and recreation, he could not conceive a greater boon 
than that supplied by free libraries. He, like others, had 
been a hard working man, but when he was young there 
was no such thing for him. When he could escape out of 
the dreary, dismal toil of his day labour to the delightful 
paths of literature that were open to him in this Library, 
it was like passing out of the dark and dirty streets into 
the fresh air. The sentiment he had to propose was — 

May the Manchester Public Free Libraries be the 
means of advancing the knowledge of economical 
and sanitary laws which govern society. 

In the discussion that day, his thoughts had been 
directed to the motion he had to make ; and when he 
went to the Library he had asked to be shown the corner 
in which the works on political economy were collected, 
and he saw they had been well used. He could not 
conceive at this present time a more important thing 
than that all classes of society should be thoroughly 
instructed in the sound principles of political economy. 
They might take his word for it, that we were entering 


on a time of very great trial, unexampled in history ; 
besides the enormous expansion of our trade and the 
question of emigration, they all knew that in every town 
in England there were difficult questions to be settled 
between employer and employed, which required for- 
bearance, discretion, and a sound knowledge of political 
economy. He had himself, on several occasions, acted as 
the mediator between masters and men during the pre- 
valence of strikes, which inflicted incalculable misery 
upon the population. In one case the strike lasted 
twenty-one weeks, and in the other seven weeks, and 
many of the people had not yet recovered from the 
effects thereof He need not tell them the vast amount 
of suffering which these strikes entailed upon the women 
and children ; nor did he propose to enter into the 
justice or injustice of those strikes ; but he found 
prevailing amongst those people a great amount of 
ignorance as to the true laws of political economy. 
He believed, however, that such ignorance was fast 
dispersing. Fifty or sixty years ago, there were few 
writers on political economy, and the greatest errors 
were committed, otherwise they would not have had 
such restrictive imposts as the corn laws, the timber 
duties, and the navigation laws. All these things until 
within a very recent period were believed in as necessary 
to our national existence — believed in, too, by the better- 
educated and higher classes. Well, if there was so much 
ignorance of the true principles of political economy 
among the educated and higher classes, it was not to be 
wondered at if such ignorance even still prevailed among 
the uneducated and working classes. Now, however, 
even the working classes need not be ignorant of the 
great and true principles of political economy, since 
there were brought within their reach by such institu- 
tions as free libraries the works — the admirable works of 
John Stuart Mill and other eminent political economists, 
in which they would— and he earnestly advised working 
men to read them — find the soundest knowledge of all 
the great principles which governed their labour. Then 
there were similar works by Professor Fawcett, which 
were also excellent and worthy their most attentive 
study. He now came to another subject on which he 
wished to say a word or two, namely, the district named 
Ancoats, where there was a large proportion of the 


population of Manchester living in a state of filth, 
misery, and degradation. There were, he found, as 
naany as five, six, and seven persons in a small house or 
room— -and sometimes more than one family — not living, 
but " pigging " together ; and the stench arising from this 
over-crowding was so great that a person going into those 
houses could scarcely stay in them a minute to speak to 
the inmates. How was it ? He could not believe that 
the local government of Manchester did not do its duty, 
but he rather believed that to a great extent this over- 
crowding in large towns and cities was attributable to 
the ignorance of those who were so situated. In many 
cases where this dreadful state of things existed, it was 
shown that the earnings of a family were not less than 
thirty-five shillings a week. The rich did a great deal, 
it was true, for the working classes of cities like Man- 
chester, but those classes ought to know that everything 
could not be done for them : they must do something 
for themselves. The working men and their wives 
should be ashamed to have such dirty wretched houses ; 
and he called upon them to reflect seriously on their 
present condition. The laws that had been passed 
enabled the City of Manchester to provide for the working 
population these magnificent Free Libraries, but it often 
occurred to him that those classes did not sufficiently 
prize those institutions and those laws, or they would 
learn to better attend to their own domestic duties. 
They — the working men — should themselves exercise a 
little public spirit in matters which concerned themselves 
and their families. Only on a recent occasion, when he 
was on a Committee of the House of Commons, many 
intelligent working men were examined by that Com- 
mittee, and they were anxious, they said, that their 
children should not be taken to work in collieries so 
early, and that they should have an education provided 
for them. That was reasonable. He asked them if 
they did not know that already there was a law which 
said that no child who was not between ten and twelve 
years of age, and who could read and write, should be 
taken on the ground ? They replied yes, but that in a 
many cases the law was not observed at all. Well, now 
they should, he told them, inform against those who so 
broke the law, for it was utterly impossible for the 
government to have an inspector in every colliery in the 


district or kingdom, as it was for the local authorities to 
have a sanitary inspector in every street of a city or 
town. He also told them that they should be the 
guardians of their own good ; and, if the working classes 
of Manchester would only make proper use of their Free 
Libraries, and study the political and sanitary laws, they 
would see that such was the fact, — would see that it was 
a thing necessary and a duty incumbent on them, both 
to themselves and their families. 

The Rev W. C. Van Meter said — when he was asked 
by the Chairman if he would say a word or two to the 
meeting, his first thought was ' What shall I say that 
will be appreciated } ' Well, he had no difficulty in 
coming to a conclusion on that point, for he had been 
kindly conducted that evening, by the Chairman, in 
company with some others, over the Free Libraries, and 
they furnished him with a text amply sufficient. In 
looking over the record he found that 10,626 tickets had 
been issued to readers or borrowers of books, a fact 
which caused him to ponder deeply. He thought of the 
dark surroundings, or dark habitations, in various parts 
of Manchester, and it seemed to him as if the Centre 
Free Library stood, shooting out its rays of light, like a 
brilliant in a sombre setting. That Free Library which 
they were opening that night was another brilliant light, 
which in its district would eventually shine away the 
darkness which now enshrouded it. He had thought of 
how many homes there are that could be made glad by 
the establishment of this Library in Rusholme Road, 
and he felt sure there were many. It must be so. In 
one of the libraries in which he had been that day, he, 
on looking round, saw a little boy about thirteen years 
of age, reading ; his head was resting on his hand ; his 
eyes were fixed on his book most earnestly, and he was 
drinking deep of the pure refreshing fountain of litera- 
ture. He looked at the little fellow with intense interest, 
and he noted that his elbows were out, that his 
pantaloons were patch upon patch, and that his shoe 
soles were worn literally to the foot. But that made 
no matter — made no difference to him and his book, 
for he sat wholly absorbed in the volume he was 
reading, as though there was nobody besides himself in 
the room. Another boy he saw hurrying as fast as he 


could to the Library — as fast as even any man hurried 
from his shop to the ' rum hole.' This boy was in his 
shirt sleeves, evidently intent on procuring some volume 
in which he expected to find a grand banquet for the 
mind. He also observed two little girls with their 
tickets, each anxious to get a book to take home to read. 
Near to them stood a third little boy with his ticket 
awaiting his turn for a book. Mr. Bruce spoke to him 
and asked him whether he wanted a story? 'No,' 
replied the boy, * I don't want a story, I want a history ! ' 
and he had no doubt that that very night Sir Walter 
Scott was talking to that little boy, and entertaining 
and instructing him to his heart's content. Now he had 
no doubt that if the Queen, or some great noble of the 
land had come to reside in Rusholme Road, the people 
of that district would feel not only highly honoured, but 
very proud of the preference given to their locality by 
such a great personage. Well that great personage, — 
that great noble was there already, and had taken up 
his dwelling in the Chorlton and Ardwick Branch Free 
Library. The people of these townships ought to be 
proud of their new resident, who, not only was capable, 
but who would do much good among them, if they would 
only let him. Let them frequent the Library, and 
borrow books from it, and the home would be cheered in 
the winter evenings, when all was drear, dark, and cold 
without and beyond. 

The meeting concluded with the usual votes of 

The interior of the building of the Chorlton and ' 
Ardwick Branch is separated by a glass partition into a 
library and newsroom. It differs, however, from the 
reading-rooms of the other branch libraries in being 
provided with alcoves for the reading stands. This was 
necessitated by the shape of the land at the disposal 
of the architect, and though picturesque in appearance, its 
adoption generally cannot be recommended, as the readers 
in the alcoves are not within the supervision of the 
librarian. This library can shelve about 20,000 volumes. 
A large room above the library, originally intended for a 


lecture hall was converted into a boys' reading-room, and 
opened in November, 1878. 

In the Library's first year of public utility the borrowers 
numbered 3,850, the books 6,331, and the issues 87,043. 


A new building, which had been erected in Every 
Street, Ancoats, for the accommodation of that populous 
district, was opened, but without public ceremony, in 
September, 1867, the library being removed thither from 
a shop numbered 190 in Great Ancoats Street. 

The building, erected from the designs of Mr. Alfred 
Waterhouse, is of brick, with stone facings, is in the Gothic 
style, and is the prettiest of the smaller branch libraries. 
The newsroom is 60ft. long by 38ft. 6in. wide, and open 
to the roof, which is of timber-work. A fine window 
occupies almost the whole of the end wall. 

The library is separated by a glass screen from the 
newsroom, and has shelf-room for about 17,000 volumes. 
A room above the library is used as a boys' reading-room, 
and it will seat about 150 lads. This room was opened 
in January, 1878, and was the first of its kind in 


No year has passed without being productive of dona- 
tions to the Libraries, though they have but seldom 
received a legacy. Amongst the most valuable or interest- 
ing of these may be mentioned a collection of Chinese 
books, numbering 253 volumes, bequeathed by Thomas 
Bellot, M.R.C.S.; the mill library of Messrs. Clarke 
Brothers, of 1,712 volumes ; and that of Mr. Joseph 
Thompson, of 1,044 volumes ; a copy of Lord Vernon's 
edition of Dante's Inferno, in three folio volumes ; 220 
volumes from the Trustees of the British Museum ; 
several fine works embodying the results of the expedi- 


tions of the United States Coast Survey, and other 
important books from the American Government. 
Mr. James Gaskill, who died in 1870, left a legacy 
of £100 for the purchase of books, chiefly of a 
scientific character, for the Hulme Branch. With the £go, 
to which this legacy, intended solely for educational pur- 
poses, was reduced after the deduction of the duty, 206 
volumes were purchased, and they formed a useful and 
much-appreciated addition to the more serious side of the 
literature possessed by the Library. 


The Reference Library has also been greatly enriched 
by the addition of some important illustrated books, pur- 
chased from the money transferred to the Committee by 
the Trustees of the Brotherton Memorial Fund. 

The history of this Fund may be briefly sketched. 
On January 19th, 1857, a public meeting was held 
in the Town Hall, Manchester, presided over by Stephen 
Heelis, then Mayor of Salford, at which it was resolved : 
" That it is desirable that an enduring Memorial of 
the late Joseph Brotherton, M.P., should be erected in 
grateful remembrance of his eminent and invaluable public 
services, and to testify the respect universally felt for his 
character." Two Committees were appointed ; one to 
consider and decide upon the nature of the Memorial, and 
the other to obtain subscriptions. Upwards of ^2^500 
was subscribed, and it was decided that a statue should be 
erected in Peel Park, Salford, and a monument placed 
over Mr. Brotherton's remains in the Salford Cemetery. 
When these works were completed a sum of money still 
remained in the hands of the Committee, and this was 
invested in the purchase of a perpetual annuity of ;^i6 
from the Manchester Corporation. The annuity was 
vested in trustees, to be by them " invested in books, and 



EXPENDITURE, i8s2-6g. 

presented annually, in rotation, to the Salford Royal Free 
Library in Peel Park, the Manchester Free Library, the 
Salford Working Men's College, and the Pendleton 
Mechanics' Institution." The two latter institutions 
having become merged in other educational bodies, the 
recipients of the fund are now the Peel Park Library and 
the Manchester Public Library in alternate years. 

The table which follows conveys at a glance the annual 
expenditure on the Free Libraries since their inception to 











-Id. Rate. 

id. Rate. 


I Expendi 

Net amount 
of Rate. 









53809 67354 

Less £zS° annual appropriation to Museum, 
commencing 1863 












Total amount not levied £\^ ii445 


the year 1869. For some years the amount which might 
be expended by Library authorities was Hmited by law 
to ^d. in the pound on the rateable value of the pro- 
perty of the community. Then the limit was, in 1857, 
extended to id., at which rate it still remains for the 
country in general. The Manchester libraries had been 
worked so economically that ^11,445 which might have 
been used in their maintenance had not been asked for, 
but as they had largely increased in number of late years, 
and the cost of management had necessarily risen, the 
Committee began to feel strongly the pinch of poverty. 
In their report presented to the Council in 1870, they 
therefore say : — 

One of the most important subjects which engaged 
the attention of the Committee during the past year, 
1869-70, was the inadequacy of the yearly amount 
allotted by the Council for the maintenance of the 
Libraries, and they instituted an inquiry into the 
principle upon which that amount was calculated. An 
examination by the Chairman [Mr. Thomas Baker] of 
the successive Acts of Parliament passed for the 
management of Public Free Libraries convinced him 
that, by the 'Public Libraries Amendment Act, 1866,' 
one penny in the pound upon the gross value of the 
property in the city was applicable to Public Free 
Library purposes, instead of one penny in the pound 
upon its rateable value. This produced upwards of 
;^2,ooo per annum more than had previously been con- 
sidered available for Library purposes. The Town 
Clerk concurred in the view taken by the Chairman, and 
the Committee considered they might draw out their 
estimates for the then commencing and now current 
financial year upon the more liberal scale justified by 
the increased income. They appended to these estimates 
a full explanatory Report, in which they stated that the 
newly-erected Branch Libraries had never been painted, 
and were otherwise in an unfinished state, that all the 
Branches were inadequately supplied with books, and 
that the Rochdale-road Branch did not afford standing- 
room to those who frequented it. They proposed, if an 


increased income was granted them, to amend these 
shortcomings. The Council sanctioned the Committee's 
views, and the result has already been to improve the 
appearance of the Libraries and greatly increase their 
working powers. 

By authority of this sanction the Library rate from 
that time was levied on the full rateable value of the city, 
with certain deductions in payment of the poor rate, until 
1 89 1, when, with the approval of the Council, the following 
clause was inserted in the " Manchester Corporation Bill " 
of that year : 

For the purposes of the execution within the city of 
the Public Libraries Act, 1855, and the Acts amending 
the same, such Acts shall be read and have effect as 
if the limit thereby imposed on the amount authorised 
to be paid out of or levied by a rate were twopence 
instead of one penny in the pound. 

This bill received the Royal sanction, and the amount 
legally leviable still remains at twopence. The average 
expenditure for the last few years has, however, not 
exceeded i^d. 

Ever since the authorisation and establishment of the 
free library system the strict limitation of the amount 
spendable on the maintenance of public libraries has been 
felt, especially in small places, as a hardship and a hindrance 
to the development of institutions which the people want, 
and of whose helpfulness, and incalculable worth to them, 
they are convinced. The Library Association has dis- 
cussed this matter perseveringly, and a clause has more 
than once been inserted in bills promoted by that body 
for the amendment of the Libraries Acts, but it has 
invariably been withdrawn or struck out. Several muni- 
cipalities have, however, obtained an extension of the 
amount or the abolition of restriction by clauses in local 
acts. It is possible that if this process be continued the 
Government will see the absurdity of the situation and 
discourage opposition to a reform so palpably and 
earnestly desired. 

Some conception of the work which had been 
accomplished by the spending of about ^50,000 may be 
acquired from the following tables, which show the growth 
of the libraries in books and in the use of them from 
1852 to 1870: — 



Lending Libraries 

a < 




ti PS 




f^ ^ 



3 J 













I. II. Theology and Philosophy 








III. History, Biography, &c.. 








IV. Politics and Commerce... 








1 1804 


1029 ; 799 
5817 \ 5697 





VI. Literature & Polygraphy. 


Specifications of Patents.. 



Books and vols, of Pam- 

phlets not yet classified. 


159 ; ... 




Embossed Books for the 

















Lending Libraries 




















'^ < 

ist 1852-3... 




1 " 



2nd 1853-4... 



= f^r^ 

c "-ri 





3rd 1854-5... 



S >oo 


£ - 




4th 1855-6... 





S tF 



5th 1856-7... 





r a 



6th 1857-8... 







1 131 

7th 1858-9... 

1 1 5206 






8th 1859-60. 








9th i860- 1... 









loth 1861-2... 









nth 1862-3... 









I2th 1863-4... 









13th 1864-5... 

1 12026 







14th 1865-6... 








15th 1866-7... 









i6th 1867-8... 









17th 1868-9... 









1 8th 1869-70. 





1 14670 





On examining these figures, the gradual but sure 
growth in the issues of books in the two departments from 
1852 to 1857 will be seen, and also that when the first two 
branches were formed the use had risen to nearly half as 
much again as in the first year of working. Those 
branches, being situated in the populous districts of Hulme 
and Ancoats, were from the first exceedingly successful, 
and added largely to the number of books used, the figures 
mounting from 198,108 to 309,210 in their opening year. 
The direful days of the cotton famine, 1862-4, also made 
their impress upon these figures. To the pathetic scenes of 
suffering and distress among the factory folk, so feelingly 
described by Mr. Edwin Waugh,may be added the testimony 
of Mr. R. W. Smiles, chief librarian at that time, who says 
in one of his reports that "during the winter of 186 1-2 
the accommodation in the reference library was found 
inadequate for the number of readers, every table being 
completely surrounded, and every chair occupied, a number 
of youths accommodating themselves by sitting on the 
warming pipes, where they were to be seen in rows 
on each side of the room every evening." The 
figures show a sudden rise from 409,018 in 1 860-1 to 
470,686 in 1 86 1 -2, slightly falling again in 1862-3, 
and rapidly decreasing when work became plentiful 
once more. This effect of the condition of the labour 
market has always been perceptible : when work is 
good the attendance at the libraries slackens, when bad it 
increases. Instead of sinking into a condition of utter 
despair under the cruelty of their sufferings, thousands of 
the factory hands during the cotton famine passed their 
days in the reading rooms of the Free Libraries, and by 
the reading of books or papers diverted their attention for 
a time from their distress, or possibly were directed to 


means of alleviating it. From this circumstance it would 
seem evident that these libraries, in all times of great social 
pressure, are, and as education grows more general will in- 
creasingly become, potent factors in the maintenance of that 
law and order which it is essential to uphold if the stability 
and welfare of the community are to be preserved, no matter 
how unbearable the special circumstances may seem, 


On January 29th, 1872, the fifth Branch Library was 
opened in York Street, Cheetham. The building had / 
been formerly used as a school. The alterations required 
w^re executed under the supervision of Mr. J, G. Lynde, 
the city surveyor, and they provided, as far as the space 
would permit, for the convenience of readers as well as 

The inaugural proceedings took place in the News- 
room, which was crowded to the full extent of its 
accommodation. Councillor Thomas Baker, the Chairman 
of the Free Libraries Committee, presided, and amongst 
those present were William Booth, the Mayor of Man- 
chester ; Aldermen Bake and Murray ; Councillors 
Hampson, Worthington, Harwood, Booth, Hodgkinson, 
Livesley, Ashton, Waterhouse, Fox Turner, Muirhead, 
Griffin, and others. 

The Chairman said they were met that night for the 
purpose of inaugurating the establishment of a Free 
Public Library for Cheetham and the adjoining district. 
In early times Manchester had a reading population, 
and it possessed in the Chetham Library, which was 
located so near to where they were then assembled, one 
of the earliest established free libraries in the Kingdom, 
It was a public library ; but owing to the restrictive 
regulations by which it was governed, it was of little use 
to the man whose work occupied the ordinary period 
of day labour. The small number of hours it was open, 


and these in the late morning and early afternoon parts 
of the day, enabled only the man of leisure to avail him- 
self of the great treasures which that library contained. 
To this might no doubt be attributed the rise and 
establishment in the town of libraries of a more popular 
and accessible character — such as the several subscription 
libraries, and the many circulating libraries which 
originated in private individual enterprise. It is a 
curious circumstance, foreshowing the present state of 
things in which we are so much interested, that 
these libraries were to be found not simply in Market- 
street, King-street, and Exchange-street, which may 
be regarded as the centre of the city, but in 
the suburbs of London-road and Medlock-street. 
In further proof of the efforts made to meet the require- 
ments of the time, the various religious societies in the 
town had libraries, the use of which in some cases was 
not confined to those specific congregations. The books 
in the circulating libraries were as well read as those in 
in our branches ; but since that time the Free Library 
Committee had supplied the wants of the reading 
population so fully that few of these private libraries are 
now in existence. His object in drawing attention to 
these facts was to show that the demand for books was no 
new one in Manchester. It was gratifying to know that 
as soon as the Corporation had taken up the matter, and 
offered the people books on application, and newspapers, 
if they choose to go to read them, there was no lack of 
readers, nor the least doubt that the experiment would 
prove a great success. It was most satisfactory to be 
able to say that every branch of the Free Library was 
being worked thoroughly and effectively — and he 
entertained not the least doubt that the library they 
were then met to open would do its work as well as the 
others. He proposed, before he concluded, to give them 
a little insight into the character arid subjects of those 
literary treasures which they saw on the shelves around 
them. The library contained 5,335 volumes, which 
treated on almost every subject, and would supply 
every reasonable literary want and taste. The inhabitants 
of Cheetham would consider that a very fair number to 
begin with. On Metaphysics and Morals there were 99 
volumes, History 470, Biography 521, Political Economy 
113, Scientific Miscellanies 48, Matliematics 61, Archi- 


tecture and Building 28, Art Miscellanies 19, Painting, 
Drawing, and Perspective 36, Music 135, Astronomy 20, 
Chemistry 19, Physical Geography and Geology 47, 
Natural History Miscellanies 52, Botany 74, Zoology 
18, Entomology 23, Literary Miscellanies 295, Poetry 
and the Drama 292, Fiction 1,395, Periodicals 240. 
There had also been provided in the room accommoda- 
tion for the reading of newspapers and periodicals. He 
anticipated that their expectations with reference to that 
branch of the Manchester Free Library would be fully 

The Mayor said he was gratified to know that Cheet- 
ham had not been forgotten in respect to a Free Library. 
He complimented the inhabitants of that district on the 
very great boon which they had that evening received 
at the hands of the Corporation of Manchester, and he 
hoped it would be duly appreciated. He was glad to 
find that the volumes on the shelves comprised almost 
every class of reading. There were books for the lovers 
of light literature, and books for the students of the most 
technical and difficult subjects. The Library would, he 
trusted, prove a great boon in assisting the tradesmen 
and artisans in their several vocations. His Worship 
then said — ' From this time henceforth I declare this 
Library to be open to the public' 

Mr. Alderman Bake said he had great pleasure in 
being present to witness the opening of the Branch Free 
Library for the township of Cheetham. They had waited 
for it long, and their representatives had worked hard 
for it, and now, thanks to the Committee, they had got 
it at last. As regards the Library itself, he knew the 
inhabitants would be proud of it, and he had no doubt 
that before the end of twelve months the Committee 
would find their grant had not been given in vain. 

Mr. William Horsfall, in moving, on behalf of the 
inhabitants of Cheetham, a vote of thanks to the 
Free Libraries Committee, observed that one difficulty 
which had seemed to stand in the way of obtaining 
a Library for this locality was that the residents 
were looked upon as being somewhat aristocratic 
and well-to-do, and therefore could well afford to pur- 
chase books for themselves. That, he believed, was a 


mistake, as a large proportion of the poorer classes were 
found among them who could not afford to buy books. 
The question of a Free Library for Cheetham had been 
mooted in the Council for years past, and he now desired 
to express the thanks of the district for its establishment. 

The resolution was passed by acclamation. 

This library opened with a larger, better, and more 
carefully selected collection of books than had been 
placed in any branch previously established. In the 
selection of the books a two-fold aim had been kept 
in view ; first, a due proportion between the various 
branches of human learning, so that the student of 
each division might find something bearing on the 
subject of his studies. Completeness was out of the ques- 
tion ; but the lovers of Mathematics, of Geology, of 
Natural History, of Music, and so forth would all find 
something relating to their favourite studies. The second 
object aimed at was to include as many as possible of the 
works of the greatest thinkers and poets of all times. In 
its first full year of working 4,206 borrowers were credited 
with 64,300 applications for the 7,644 books then on the 

There was no anticipation that the success of this 
branch would be so overwhelming as it immediately 
proved. Almost from the day of the opening the accom- 
modation was seen to be extremely inadequate for so 
populous a district, and two years later communications 
were addressed to the Earl of Derby, a large owner of land 
in the neighbourhood, with the view of inducing him to 
present a plot of land on which a new building for the 
Library might be placed. His lordship offered to give to 
the Committee a piece of land at the back of the main 
road, and not well situated for their purposes. When the 
Committee selected an eminently suitable piece of land on 
the main street, and offered to purchase it. Lord Derby 


deducted from the price the estimated value of the land 
he had previously proposed to give. For the small sum 
of ;^700 a splendid site, containing about 700 square 
yards, was therefore obtained, and on May nth, 1876, the 
foundation stone for a new library building was laid by 
Alderman Thomas Baker. The ceremony was a public 
one, and amongst those present on the occasion were 
Alderman Curtis, the Mayor of Manchester, Councillor 
James Croston, several other members of the Libraries 
Committee, and a number of representative inhabitants 
of the ward. 

Councillor James Croston handed to Alderman Thomas 
Baker a silver trowel having engraved upon it Mr. Baker's 
Coat of Arms, and the following inscription: — ' Presented 
to Mr. Alderman Baker by the Members of the Free 
Libraries Committee, on occasion of his laying the 
Corner Stone of the Public Free Library, Township of 
Cheetham, City of Manchester, May nth, 1876.' He 
then said: — Alderman Baker, in the name and on behalf 
of the Public Libraries Committee of this city, I have 
the pleasure of presenting to you this trowel wherewith 
to lay the corner-stone of the Cheetham Branch of the 
Manchester Public Free Libraries. When some years ago 
the establishment of a branch library in this township 
was first suggested, there were those who said that it was 
unnecessary — that the inhabitants of Cheetham were not 
those for whose benefit free libraries were intended, for 
the reason that they were a class of people who could 
afford to buy the books they wished to read. He 
believed that no greater mistake could have been made. 
From a long and intimate acquaintance with the district 
he might say there was no part of Manchester where 
such a privilege would be of greater benefit or be more 
highly appreciated. There were residing in the township 
a large number of young men who were employed as 
warehousemen and clerks, and in similar occupations, to 
whom such an institution would not only afford the 
opportunity of mental culture, but would be the means 
of withdrawing them from the frivolous amusements and 
manifold temptations which in this city beset those who 
were rising into manhood. The existing library in the 


township, he said, had a very modest beginning a few 
years ago, indeed it was intended rather as an experiment 
than as a permanent institution, but the large number of 
persons who had availed themselves of it, and who 
crowded its small room every evening, showed how much 
it had been appreciated. For the success generally of 
free libraries in Manchester, they were indebted to the 
untiring energy and zeal of their Chairman, Alderman 
Baker, who had devoted a great amount of time and 
attention to the supervision of every detail in connection 
with them, and had long made them the special objects 
of his attention, and he felt that he would be wanting in 
fairness if he did not thus publicly acknowledge the 
services he had rendered. He trusted that that would 
be a red-letter day in Cheetham, and that the library — 
the corner-stone of which was about to be laid — would 
for many generations to come be largely availed of by the 
inhabitants, and in supplying the means of mental and 
moral improvement be a blessing to the people of the 

Alderman Baker, after accepting the trowel, said that 
the bottle which he had deposited under the foundation 
stone contained the three Manchester newspapers of 
that morning — the Guardian, the Examiner and Times, 
and the Courier — a copy of the last Annual Report of 
the Free Libraries Committee, and a list of the present 
Committee, written on parchment, as well as a Memoran- 
dum, also on parchment, of the foundation stone being 
laid by himself on that day, and the names of Messrs. 
Barker and Ellis as the architects. A few new coins 
were put in, amounting in value to four shillings and five 
pence. After declaring the stone to be ' well and truly 
laid,' Mr. Baker said that was the fourth branch library 
in the rearing of which he had taken an active part since 
he had become a member of the Free Libraries Com- 
mittee, but he did not think that any former branch library 
had been commenced with so bright a prospect of future 
prosperity as that one. The success of the Free Library 
in Cheetham had been unexampled. It was opened on 
the 29th January, 1872, and during the first twelve 
months upwards of 65,000 volumes had been lent out for 
perusal. During the last twelve months the number had 
increased to 74,000 volumes, while upwards of 155,600 


visits had been paid to the newsroom for the purpose of 
reading either the newspapers and periodicals which lay 
upon the tables, or books handed from the shelves. _ He 
believed that everybody would agree with him in think- 
ing that this was a great business to be conducted in 
premises little larger than an ordinary retail shop. 
Soon after the opening of the Library it became 
evident to the Committee that they would have to 
erect a building in that district which should be 
capable of meeting the requirements of the inhabi- 
tants, and therefore they set about looking for a piece 
of land suitable for their purpose. They ultimately 
selected the spot on which they were then assembled, 
and opened a communication with Lord Derby, to whom 
it belonged, with a view to its purchase. His lordship 
met them in a most generous spirit, and remitted one 
half of the purchase money, so that the magnificent plot 
of ground, fronting the main road, the best site they 
could have chosen if they had had the whole township 
before them, came into the possession of the Corporation 
free of chief rent, for the small sum of ;^700. The 
Committee had obtained several sets of designs for the 
new library, and they had selected those of Messrs. 
Barker and Ellis, who, he believed, would produce a 
building which would be a great ornament to the 
township. The inside dimensions of the room would be 
92 feet 10 inches by 58 feet 10 inches, giving an area of 
606 square yards, of which the counter and library would 
occupy 113 square yards, and the entrance and reading 
room 493 square yards. The cost including the land 
would be about ^10,000. He had an especial pleasure 
in meeting the people of Cheetham that day, for when 
a poll was taken in 1852 to decide whether the 
Public Free Libraries x\ct should or should not be 
introduced into Manchester, there was not one adverse 
vote given in that township. Of Sir John Potter, who was 
the originator of the free library movement in Manchester, 
he would take that opportunity of observing that, 
although he did much good in other ways, and 
presided as Mayor for three years over that great city, he 
regarded his good works done in that capacity as 
fugitive when compared with the blessings he was 
laying up in store for his fellow citizens in the 
establishment of free libraries. Sir John did not know 


at the time that the tree which he was planting would 
grow to be so mighty a monarch and extend its branches 
so widely, and he wished he were with them that after- 
noon to hear the statement he was about to make, which 
was that 3,000 volumes were now issued every day from 
these libraries, being nearly 900,000 volumes each year, 
whilst the number of visits each year to the newsrooms 
was now upwards of one million and a half. These were 
mighty results, and the merit due to Sir John Potter, 
was inestimable, for in these days when working men 
exercise such great political power in the country, it was 
of the utmost importance that they should be educated. 
It was essential to the well being of the community that 
they should be well informed on all the leading topics of 
the day. There were large classes of people in this 
City of Manchester whom Mechanics' Institutions, and 
Athenaeums, and other educational societies did not 
reach. To these, and others who have not had the 
advantages of an early education, like the children of our 
day have, the newsrooms attached to the libraries were 
open without any introduction, and supplied information 
on every important movement throughout the kingdom. 
They were institutions for the millions. Besides the 
knowledge he gets from the newspapers, the working 
man may obtain from the libraries books on every 
imaginable subject with which to occupy his leisure 
hours. If too weary to pore over treatises on science or 
history there were at his command some of the best 
novels that had been written. Objections had some- 
times been raised to novels being in the libraries, 
but he maintained that, in one respect, they were as good 
as histories, and that the characters in them were as 
instructive. He need not refer to the characters in the 
novels of Sir Walter Scott, as they were avowedly 
historical, but he would give a few instances from one or 
two of Dickens' Works in which the characters were 
mostly imaginative. Who, for example, could read about 
Wilkins Micawber, ' always waiting for something to 
turn up,' without associating with him the idea of 
idleness and reckless improvidence ? He asked also if 
guilelessness and unaffected goodness would not be 
associated with Tom Pinch ? And was not Pecksniff 
the very embodiment of hollow hypocrisy and pompous- 
ness ? Readers would naturally avoid the exhibition in 


themselves of those quahties they condemned in others. 
Incidentally, too, in these same novels of Dickens, 
expressions occurred which had become household words. 
The ' circumlocution office ' had impressed upon every- 
body's mind a tolerably correct idea of what a department 
of the public service ought not to be, and the few words 
of Captain Cuttle, ' when found make a note of,' had 
furnished the motto of one of the most instructive and 
valuable periodicals of the age. By means of the free 
libraries men might learn those principles of knowledge 
and freedom which conduced in the highest degree to 
the prosperity and advantage of the country. They 
might be described as active and powerful means of 
working out the old and corrupt notions which had 
occupied men's minds. Applying to them the words of 
Tennyson, they would aid very greatly to 

Ring out the old, ring in the new, 
Ring out the false, ring in the true. 
Ring in the valiant man and free, 

The larger heart, the kindlier hand ; 

Ring out the darkness of the land, 
Ring in the Christ that is to be. 

Mr. Henry Winterbottom, M.R.C.S., proposed on 
behalf of the inhabitants of Cheetham, a vote of thanks 
to Alderman Baker for his kindness in coming amongst 
them on that occasion, as well as for the workmanlike 
skill which he had displayed in discharging his duties. 
He also begged cordially to thank the Corporation 
of Manchester for the very great boon which they 
had conferred upon the residents of the ward in 
establishing the Free Library, the appreciation of which 
had been daily testified to by the numbers who availed 
themselves of its advantages. He said the position 
of Mr. Baker in the Council, as Chairman of the Free 
Libraries Committee, was a most enviable one, and 
one of which any man might be proud, but it was a 
position which could not well be occupied except by a 
person possessing education, culture, refinement, and 
gentlemanly conduct. He trusted the ceremony of that 
day was an omen that the success which had hitherto 
attended the Cheetham Free Library would be increased 
tenfold, and that from the structure now being raised, 


useful knowledge would be disseminated throughout the 

Mr. Joseph Wood said he had great pleasure in 
seconding the motion, not that Alderman Baker required 
their thanks at all, it being manifest to all who took an 
interest in the removal of ignorance and vice by the dif- 
fusion of knowledge that his heart was in the work, and 
his chief reward the great success which had attended 
the labours of himself and colleagues of the Libraries 
Committee. As the State had taken means to promote 
a more general education of children throughout the 
country, thereby creating a craving for books, it was 
only reasonable that libraries like this should be 
multiplied for the supply of wholesome literature, 
whereby the mental wants of the people might be 
abundantly met. 

The motion was carried with acclamation, and with a 
brief reply from Mr. Baker the proceedings concluded. 

The formal opening of the new building in York 
Street, Cheetham, provided for the purposes of a Branch 
Lending Library, took place on Monday, nth February, 
1878. Amongst the gentlemen present at the ceremony 
were Alderman Worthington, Deputy-Chairman of the 
Free Libraries Committee (who presided, in the absence, 
through illness, of the Chairman, Alderman Baker) ; 
Aldermen Heywood and Bake; Councillors Batty, Walker, 
May, Rowley, Ashton, Muirhead, Shaw, Murray, Reade, 
Bazley, Walton Smith, Moulton, Craven, Spencer, 
Greenwood, Payne, Hilton, Stewart, Croston, Little, Peel, 
Birch, Asquith, Booth, Thompson, Griffin, Livesley, 
Mather, Bright, Schofield, and Brierley ; Mr. Malcolm 
Ross ; Mr. Robert Neill ; Mr. Alexander Ireland ; Mr. 
Chancellor Christie ; Dr. John Watts ; the Rev. R. Adams, 
Rector of St. Thomas's, Red Bank ; the Rev. Professor 
Isaacs, of the Jewish Synagogue ; Mr, A. Crestadoro 
Chief Librarian ; Mr. J, H. Nodal, President of the 


Manchester Literary Club, and Mr. George Milner, Vice- 
President ; Mr. W. E. A. Axon, and others. 

The Chairman (Alderman Thomas Worthington), in 
opening the proceedings, said : — I am sorry to say our 
excellent Chairman (Alderman Baker), is prevented by 
indisposition from being here to-day. In 1872 we opened 
a Branch Library in this locality, a little lower down 
the road, and at that time we considered the room we 
took for the purpose would be quite large enough for 
many years to come. Little did we expect that in so 
short a time Cheetham would require so large a building 
as this. However, such proved to be the fact. It has 
been our desire in the past, and will be in the future, to 
make the Libraries as useful as possible, and my desire 
is that we should do everything we can to wean people 
from the street corners and the public-houses, by pro- 
viding them with places like this where they can meet 
for a useful purpose, and obtain that information which 
will make them better citizens. It may be interesting 
to know the number of visits made to the Free Libraries 
during the past year, which I am happy to say, exceeds 
two millions. In the face of a fact like that I think no 
one will doubt that the Committee are doing a useful 
work in Manchester. 
Mr. Joseph Wood moved the following resolution : 

That this meeting of ratepayers of Cheetham Ward 
desires to acknowledge its high appreciation of the 
great advantages which will accrue from the 
establishment of a new Lending Library which 
has this day been opened, and desires to tender 
to the Committee and the City Council its cordial 
thanks for this most valuable institution. 

And added, I desire to express to you, Mr. Chairman, and 
to this meeting, the high appreciation I have of this 
valuable institution, and as citizens of Cheetham, I think 
it is the duty of all of us to appreciate such a gift. When 
I reflect what facilities young men have for mental 
improvement in these days, as compared with what they 
had when I was a young man, I begin to think it is a 
great advantage to be a young man in these days, for 
here you can come and ask for any book you want out 
of these priceless treasures, and take it home to peruse 


without any fee or payment of any kind. In addition to 
that privilege you have this splendid temple in which 
you can come and read the various newspapers and 
magazines. To have such a building as this in Cheetham 
is a very great honour to the city which has provided it. 
When I was in my apprenticeship I paid six shillings a 
year to a small Mechanics' Institution, whose library did 
not contain as many books as there are on that one shelf 
before me. It is very sad to see that the principles 
of political economy are no better understood than they 
seem to be by employers and employed, judging from 
the frequent differences arising between them, and I 
believe if the working men of Manchester would only 
use these libraries more those principles would become 
better understood, and strikes be unknown. 

Mr. Henry Winterbottom, in seconding the resolution 
said: I am proud to find that we possess such a 
magnificent building as this, so well adapted for the 
purpose in all its details and I am sure we shall all agree 
that great credit is due to the architect, the builder, and 
all concerned. I am pleased to hear that the lending 
library has been so much appreciated in Cheetham, 
indeed we have taken a greater interest in the free library 
movement than any other district in Manchester. 

Councillor James Croston (one of the representatives 
of Cheetham) supported the motion. He said : — I may 
remind you that this is the last of the branch lending 
libraries at present in contemplation, but whilst reminding 
you of that fact, and that the Committee have rendered 
but tardy justice to this district, I think when you meet in 
this handsome and spacious room and see the literary 
treasures which have been gathered together for you, 
you will agree with me in saying that you have lost 
nothing by the exercise of your patience. I believe I 
may congratulate you on having the largest, most hand- 
some, and I may add the most costly lending library in 
the city. But I am not going to say that that is more 
than is due to Cheetham. I hope the work will be the 
beginning of better days in Cheetham, that you will feel 
your interests have not been neglected, and will show 
your appreciation of the provision which has been 
made by making good use of the books and papers. I 


know there was a strong objection raised to the opening 
of a Free Library in Cheetham, on the ground that the 
people were intelligent, learned, and wealthy, so that 
they could afford to buy books and papers themselves. 
I think we showed the objctors that in Cheetham there 
was a large number of industrious working men and 
clerks who could not afford to purchase many 
books, but by whom these books were most likely 
to be made good use of, and that by the perusal 
of these books they would obtain that knowledge 
which would render them more likely to become 
useful and honourable members of the communit}'. 
This is a great educational age : what with the building 
of schools, the establishment of school boards and in- 
stitutions for teaching the youth of the country, we may 
hope to see the next generation much better informed 
than the last, and it becomes the duty of those who 
occupy places of public trust, to see that the youth after 
leaving the day schools, to enter upon some kind of 
occupation, shall have the means of continuing their 
course of instruction during leisure hours so as to make 
them better citizens and better Christians. I believe 
there is no section of the community which might not 
derive advantage from a perusal of the books this library 
contains. It would shed light upon the humblest cot, 
and afford immense adv:antage to even the occupant 
of a palace. I know of nothing more advantageous 
to a working man than that instead of going to the 
tavern after his day's work, he can come to a library 
like this, get a book and take it home with him, the 
perusal of which will make him forget for a time the 
cares and anxieties produced by his day's toil, and he 
will rise up the next morning better educated and more 
enlightened than he was on the previous day. And 
these advantages are not confined to one section of the 
community, the possession of power is said to be the 
possession of truth, and I think it was Pope who said : — 

A little learning is a dangerous thing, 
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring. 
I hold that the converse of this is equally true, and that 
there was much truth in the saying that ' an Englishman 
ought to know something of everything, and everything 
of something,' that is to say, he should make himself 



master of some particular branch of study, and have a 
general acquaintance with almost every other branch. 
And I believe there is not a branch of science or literature 
which you will not find represented by the books on 
these shelves. The possession of knowledge is a 
treasure which neither wealth nor position can purchase, 
neither can poverty or misfortune deprive you of it. It 
cheered the heart of Galileo under the oppression of the 
Inquisition ; it was the faithful companion of John 
Bunyan ; it consoled the mind of Dante when a grief- 
stricken exile; and it lightened the labours of poor 
Hugh Miller ; it shed light upon the blindness of Milton ; 
and placed an evergreen garland around the brow of 
our own immortal bard, Shakspere. And I believe these 
branch libraries have been the means of conveying 
comfort, hope, and consolation to many a labouring man 
in this city ; that they have cheered the heart of many 
a humble worker whom through their influence, 
Manchester may some day feel proud to claim as her 

Mr. Malcolm Ross also supported the motion. He 
said :— I little thought twenty-six years ago, when I was 
favoured to be present and take part in the opening of 
the Free Library in Campfield, we should so soon be 
opening a magnificent building like this as a branch of 
it, the fifth of such branches too. Mr. Wood has referred 
to a period when the opportunity of reading books was 
not so easily obtained. • It was so in my own case, for 
there was only one library open every Saturday night 
from seven till nine, and such was the desire for reading 
that myself and some others used to go there at seven 
o'clock, take a book from the shelves and sit by the fire 
reading it till nine, and then exchange it for one that 
was to last for a week. The newspapers were then pub- 
lished only once or twice a week, and the price of them 
was 7d. each. Here you will be able to see every 
newspaper published in Manchester, as well as others, 
every day, free of charge. Having then received so 
many advantages beyond what we had when we were 
young, I hope you will show by the use you make of 
them that you appreciate them, and so profit by them as 
to show a good example to the generation which has to 


The motion was then passed, and the Chairman 
declared the Hbrary open to the public. 

Councillor Ashton (one of the representatives of 
Cheetham Ward) moved a vote of thanks to Alderman 
Worthington for presiding. He said : — It has often been 
said that the people of Cheetham Ward could afford to 
pay for books themselves, but I maintain that though 
there are many intelligent young men in Cheetham, they 
are not overburdened with money, and this library will 
just provide them with what they are anxious to obtain 
but cannot afford to purchase, and as they are men who 
will eventually rule, if not in parliament possibly in the 
municipal council, it is desirable they should have every 
opportunity of educating themselves for such positions 
in life. 

Mr. Robert Neill (ex-Alderman) seconded the motion. 
He said :— As an old ratepayer in this township I feel 
very great interest in our proceedings to-day. VVe have 
all watched this building growing up for a rather con- 
siderable time, but I had no idea until now that it was so 
ample, so spacious, and so elegant a building. The 
Council have been a long time in recognising our claims, 
but when they have done it, they have done it well. 
When I look at this room, and consider either its archi- 
tecture or the way in which the work has been carried 
out, I must say it reflects great credit on all the parties 
concerned. I belong to a trade in which there is a 
technical school for teaching boys, and although the 
employers pay the school wages it is with considerable 
difficulty we can get the boys to go. I hope that will 
not be the case here. Previous speakers have told you 
how different things are in this respect now from what 
they were when they were boys. I may say I had the 
misfortune to be brought up where there was no library 
at all — and I never had a book to read except my school 
books until I could work and was able to buy one. 
Here you will get books which will not only amuse, but 
instruct you, and make you into men and women who 
will be a credit to the city. I have some little pride in 
being a Cheetham ratepayer, for I believe we are the 
best behaved part of the city. I believe there are fewer 
of us appear in the police courts, and therefore I hope 
this library will help you to maintain this good character, 


and that you will show by the use you make of the 
privilege that you appreciate it. 

The motion was passed with acclamation, and briefly 
acknowledged by Mr. Worthington, and the proceedings 

In the Cheatham Branch there is no separation between 
the library and newsroom. This is not the ideal arrange- 
ment, for it is found difficult to carry on the work of the 
lending department without disturbing the quiet and 
decorum of the reading room. A boys' room was, 
subsequent to the opening, formed in the basement, and 
first used on December 19th, 1883. 

From their establishment in 1852 the reference library 
and chief lending library had continued to be housed in 
the building in Campfield, and although five branch 
libraries had been opened from time to time the parent 
institution not only maintained but steadily increased its 
popularity. In 1873 the issues from the lending library 
had increased to 108,342, being about 30,000 more than 
at the commencement, and those in the reference librar}' 
had risen to 151,700, being more than twice the number 
of the first year. The accommodation provided by the 
building had, however, never been very satisfactory. 
The lending library was too low, and the ventilation 
very defective. The reference library was too far from 
the centre of the town, and was also insufficient in 
shelving, some of the books having to be stored at the 
branch libraries. Moreover, the structure, not having been 
erected with a view to the purpose for which it had been 
employed, began to give way beneath the weight of books 
placed against its walls. In 1877 its condition became so 
alarming that the library was abruptly closed. The 
books were removed with as much speed as possible, and 


were placed in the offices of the old Town Hall in King 
Street, which had just been rendered vacant by the 
Corporation taking possession of the New Town Hall in 
Albert Square. 

In April of the same year the Council authorised the 
occupation of the old Town Hall as a reference library, and 
by resolution passed on 5th March, 1884, transferred the 
building and the unoccupied land adjoining it to the 
Libraries Committee. This action received the approval of 
the Treasury Commissioners on March 20th. The work 
of alteration was at once put in hand, was completed in 
February, 1878, and after the inauguration by public 
meeting of the new building for the Cheetham branch, 
which took place on February nth, the meeting adjourned 
to the Reference Library for the purpose of opening it 
also to the public. 

Immediately after the conclusion of the ceremony 
in Cheetham, the Reference Library at the Old Town 
Hall, King Street, was formally opened by the Mayor, 
Alderman Grundy. Most of the gentlemen who had 
been present at the Cheetham Branch Library were there 
also, as well as the following among others : — Aldermen 
Lamb, Murray, and Hopkinson ; Mr. James Crossley 
(President of the Chetham Society), Mr. Edwin Waugh, 
Mr. J. G. Mandley, Mr. Abel Heywood, junr., Mr. H. H. 
Howorth, Dr. Samelson, Mr. John Leigh (Officer of 
Health), and the Rev. W. A. O'Conor, B.A. 

The Mayor on rising to open the proceedings said : — 
Our friends, the Free Libraries Committee, seem to have 
thought their ceremony to-day would not be complete 
without the presence of the Mayor, therefore, the Mayor 
has come, as he is everybody's humble servant just now. 
I am not sure however, that I am in the right place, for 
to tell you the truth I have been talking water a good 
many days past and I am not sure whether I shall not 


finish with water on the brain. At any rate I am very 
ill prepared to say anything on the question of libraries 
which is worthy of being said to the company I find 
assembled here, or anything worthy of the majestic 
looking throne upon which it has been thought proper to 
place me. 

In 1877, the Council authorised the temporary 
occupation of the Old Town Hall as a Reference Library 
until a suitable and central site could be found. 
This authority has been exercised by the Committee, 
who have prepared the building for use by fitting up the 
first floor with shelving and furniture from the Campfield 
Library. In furtherance of the plan, they removed the 
wooden partitions which divided the large room from 
the Mayor's Parlour and the Council Chamber, and also 
substituted glass for lead in the three existing domes 
over those rooms. The joiners' strike, which unfortunately 
began immediately after the permission of the Council 
was granted, delayed the commencement of these 
alterations for at least six months. The cost of the 
alterations, including painting throughout, has been 
about ^980, with ^620 additional for refitting of shelving, 
heating apparatus, &c. This room looks very grand, 
and I dare say some of you who feel a deep interest in 
the library would like to make this its permanent 
home. Well, of course that is a matter which involves 
a difference of opinion and some further consideration. 
You know there have been differences of opinion on 
this question, and it has been my ill fortune to differ 
with the Libraries Committee, for which 1 am sorr}% 
because I never like to differ with a Committee which is 
doing its work well. But I have thought sometimes 
there was too little regard paid by this Committee to 
the duty of keeping within an expenditure which is 
legally justifiable, and I have felt it my duty to remind 
them of this now and then. We are lodged here now 
for a longer or shorter time, and I am sure we all wish 
that those who use the library should be comfortabl}^ 
housed either here or in a building erected for that 
purpose. I wish them every happiness and enjoyment 
in it, and hope they will derive from it all those 
advantages which are claimed for it. I now beg to 
declare that from this day the Reference Library is 
open to the public. 


Mr. Chancellor R. C. Christie said : As I am the first 
person called upon to address the meeting, I shall ven- 
ture to express, on behalf of the public and the citizens 
of Manchester, our very warmest thanks to the Cor- 
poration and the Committee, for having provided this 
very admirable accommodation for what I and a great 
number of other people think is one of the most 
important departments of the Corporation. I am glad 
to be able to say that whilst the Manchester Corporation 
yields to none in the provision for our material wants, 
such as gas and water, which some Corporations look 
upon as their sole duty, they have not been unmindful 
of the necessity of providing for the mental requirements 
of the community. You have provided a room which is 
second to none in Europe for a library of this sort. The 
subject of libraries is one in which I have had some 
personal experience, having visited every great library 
in Europe, except those of Russia and I can say that 
although there are libraries larger than this there are 
very few which have a room for their accommodation 
anything like this in extent. I am quite certain I speak 
the sentiments of a large proportion — I may say the 
majority — of the citizens when I say we heartily hope 
the library will be allowed to remain here. I was one of 
those who ventured to bring before the Corporation the 
importance of the library being transferred to this building, 
seeing that there must be a change. Our request was 
received with that respect which the Corporation always 
treats any reasonable request made to them by the citizens, 
and we are glad to find, when it was clearly and im- 
partially put before them, that they admitted the transfer 
to this building would be a proper course, whether 
temporarily or not is another question. But if there was 
a possibility of a doubt at that time as to the suitability 
of the building, that doubt no longer exists, it is a 
certainty. I have gone over the rooms and I am satisfied 
that no building could be better adapted to the purpose, 
unless you are prepared to spend ^50,000 or ^60,000 in 
building another place. The great majority of the 
public libraries in Europe are placed in buildings which 
were not intended for them, but I don't think that has 
been found on the whole to be any disadvantage. Whilst 
there are special rooms required in a great library, still 
the great feature to be desired is a large room like this. 


It is one of the greatest pleasures to me to walk round 
a room like this and look at the outside of the books to 
see what they consist of. When I have visited the great 
libraries on the Continent 1 have felt a little ashamed to 
think that if the people of those places were to come to 
Manchester we should not have a Reference Library fit 
to take them to. We shall have no need to feel ashamed 
of it now. I rejoice to think you have over 50,000 
volumes here, and I hope that number will be doubled 
in a few years' time, for valuable as the library may be 
it is only small in comparison with what the library of a 
city like this should be, or what some continental cities 
have. It is true we have in Manchester another very 
valuable free library, the Chetham Library, but I should 
like to see that library and this under one roof I say 
this in the presence of a venerable and venerated mem- 
ber of the Chetham Society, Mr. James Crossley, who, I 
hope, will lend his influence to that object. I don't say 
that the Chetham Library would be better managed 
under such an arrangement, but it would be a great 
convenience to those who use these libraries, as they 
don't like to be running about from one part of the city 
to another to consult certain books. In conclusion I 
desire again to express a very anxious hope that the 
Reference Library may long continue to occupy this 
old municipal building, which, I am sure, even those 
who disagree with us would regret to see turned to any 
uses which are not municipal or public. 

Mr. James Crossley, who was next called upon b}- the 
Mayor, said : — I have lived a great part of my life in an 
atmosphere of libraries and books, and I have seen a 
great number of extraordinary collections of books, but 
I have never been more deeply impressed on any 
occasion than with what I have seen here, or looked 
round me with such entire satisfaction as I feel in look- 
ing at this noble room with its contents. I have long 
had an acquaintance with this room under a variety of 
circumstances ; I have seen it as a place of meeting both 
peaceful and tumultuous ; I have seen it when decorated 
with the portraits of several of our local luminaries, 
amongst whom were some surveyors of highwa)-s, who 
seemed on the highway to immortality. lint all these 
are swept away by the relentless hand of time, and I 


must say I never saw the room so well clothed, or 

the walls so admirably furnished ; indeed, I look 

upon it as a singular deliverance that we have 

got here, for I had begun to feel that if the library 

had remained in the old building we might have 

had a disaster which it would not have been pleasant 

to narrate in the history of libraries. A gentleman 

rather heavy in his proportions might have felt it 

possible that his precise weight was just the momentum 

required to bring down that ill-fated building. That is 

not the case here, no likelihood of a collapse here ; you 

are as firm as the foundations of Manchester itself I 

trust therefore we shall see the library remain long 

where it is. In fact I don't see how in this room, with 

all its appliances and adjuncts, much more can be done. 

It is excellently lighted, the books are in an excellent 

state of arrangement, and we have a chief librarian who 

has not his superior in the country, with a staff of 

experienced and able gentlemen, who, I wish, could just 

be transferred to the British Museum to show them how 

to work there as they know how to work here. But in 

addition to these advantages we have that which no 

library can be considered complete without — we have an 

admirable catalogue, which is a monument to the 

Librarian's credit and honour, which can never be too 

highly praised. It is a model which I wish to see more 

extensively followed in the country, and I am glad to 

hear the second volume of it will shortly be in the 

hands of the public. With all these advantages, 

and this excellently adapted room in the very centre 

of Manchester, I consider the number of readers will in 

all probability be multiplied in an extraordinar}- degree. 

When you consider how much research and quiet study 

there is in Manchester, and how many people there are 

who want an opportunity of referring to certain books, I 

must say that to plant the library in a central situation 

is the only way to make it permanently useful. And 

who that is engaged in literary research does not want a 

library like this? There is my friend Mr. Howorth with 

his history of the Mongols, of which only one volume 

has been published ; is it possible that that giant labour 

could have been carried through without the assistance 

of this library? And when we consider the number of 

books published from Manchester, we must see there is a 


demand for books of reference by editors to a large 
extent. I believe more has been done for some years past 
in the illustration of early English poetical literature from 
Lancashire and Manchester than has been done in the 
Metropolis itself For all this research, a Reference 
Library is most essential, therefore the importance and 
necessity of a library like this cannot be too much 
enlarged upon. I hope and trust it will go on extending, 
so that those departments in it which are not so well 
filled up as one could wish may in a very short time be 
placed on the same footing as other departments to 
which large additions have been made. When 1 first 
went to the Metropolis I was taken to a place called the 
' Temple of the Muses,' in Finsbury Square, where there 
was an immense congeries of books but without order, 
symmetry, classification, or proportion. The extent of 
the walls covered with books was such that I could not 
look at them without being immensely struck, but the 
value of the books was in no way proportionate to the 
bulk. It is quite different with this Manchester Temple 
of the Muses, which I trust may long maintain its 
character for order and arrangement. A library like this 
is something like the dedication of a church, there would 
seem to be something immoral almost in altering or 
transferring it elsewhere. I hope the pilgrims and 
devotees to this shrine may increase day by day and 
year by year, with infinite advantage to themselves and 
to the public, and with credit and honour to the 
Corporation. I trust also that amongst them there may 
be many who may think it necessary to bring gifts and 
offerings to the shrine, offerings which will add consider- 
ably to its value, and which may be recorded and 
chronicled by our friend Mr. Axon in a second volume 
of that most interesting work, TJie Public Libraries of 
Manchester and Salford. 

Alderman Abel Hey wood said : I am glad to have had 
the opportunity of meeting Mr. Crossley here to-day, as 
he is the only person here that I recollect seeing in this 
room twenty-seven years ago, as one of a Committee 
who had met for the purpose of selecting books which 
were to form the Reference Library. On that occasion 
Mr. Crossley rendered great services, indeed the services 
rendered by him to the public of Manchester cannot be 


too highly estimated. He has always felt considerable 
interest in the Reference Library, and the Corporation 
are very much indebted to him for many suggestions he 
has made from time to time. I trust that whenever he 
has the opportunity of acting upon the hint just thrown 
out by Chancellor Christie, as to an amalgamation of the 
Chetham Library with this one, he will throw the weight 
of his influence in favour of that project, so that we may 
have a library which, if not equal in size to some of 
those which have been referred to, may be such as will 
be an honour to the people of Manchester. I think I 
am the only member of the Council at present who was 
on the first Committee for the Free Libraries, therefore 
I feel some degree of satisfaction at the progress which 
that movement has made in Manchester. When the 
first library was established in Manchester it was 
expected to meet all the wants of the community in that 
respect ; we had no conception then that there was so 
soon to be so great an extension of cheap literature in 
the country, much less did we expect that some of the 
most valuable books would be published at a price which 
would enable working men to obtain them for them- 
selves, and form a little library of their own. Such, 
however, has been the case, and some of the best books 
which adorn the shelves of this library may be found in 
the homes of working men. I presume the establishment 
of this library, and others of its kind in various parts of 
the country, has had a most beneficial effect upon the 
working men of this country, and that, although the 
number of readers at this library diminished last year, it 
is satisfactory to know that such diminution is accounted 
for by the fears which people had as to the insecurity of 
the building in which it was housed, and was not due to 
any waning interest in literary pursuit. If we had had 
to look for the reason in other directions I feel persuaded 
we should have found one great cause of it was the 
extension which has taken place in the sale of literature 
within the last ten or twelve years. It is a matter for 
congratulation, then, that the establishment of libraries 
such as this throughout the country, has created an 
influence and a desire in the minds of the people which 
will not be forgotten in the future history of the working 
men of Manchester. 

Dr. John Watts said : Mr. Crossley has told you he 


never saw this room better occupied or its walls better 
clothed, and during the time he was speaking I have 
observed an amazing improvement in it in one particular. 
I trust these shelves and books will occupy this room 
until at any rate a better home is found for them. I 
can understand the feeling of Mr. Crossley on this 
subject, from having served with him in the formation 
of this library. I remember him being sent as a 
messenger to London along with Mr. Edwards with 
plenary powers in his pocket, to select books for the 
library. These books are, many of them, his own 
children, for whom he has a natural affection, and no doubt 
he has many of their twins in his own house, indeed it is 
possible many of them are triplicates, of which the third 
exists in the Chetham Library — therefore I canwellunder- 
stand the affection with which he looks round this room. 
Another way in which Mr. Crossley rendered valuable 
services to this library was in the assistance he gave in 
the preparation of the first catalogue. That was not a 
light work, nor was it all plain sailing, for I well 
remember some very warm discussion on the subject, 
between the late Bishop of Manchester and a present 
Canon of the Cathedral. My connection with the 
origin of this library was not important, although I 
believe I was the first person consulted by Sir John 
Potter, and was associated with my friend Mr. Leigh as 
the Honorary Secretary up to the birth of the library in 
Campfield. 1 am glad to be here at the removal of such 
an increased body of books, and I am glad to hear that 
we have got to that position that on an average each 
of them comes down from the shelves four times in the 
course of a year. One cannot but think that an amazing 
amount of good must result from this study, and when 
we remember that seventy or eighty Free Libraries have 
been set up since the Act was passed, one cannot help 
feeling that the promoter of that measure was one of the 
greatest benefactors in this country. When I came to 
Manchester I came from a rare old city which was 
without a Public Library, but there was a Mechanics' 
Institution which had a collection of 1,200 or 1,500 
books. It seems to me the work of a librarian is 
peculiarly interesting and useful ; I don't think you can 
have a man working in a library like this without his 
feeling in love with some particular department in it. 


making that his own, and giving the public the benefit 
of his experience and observation. We are spreading 
knowledge here to an amazing extent, and that begets a 
habit which grows into instinct, so that future generations, 
from their instinct, learn more rapidly than those which 
have preceded them, hence we may say man is a 
progressive animal. In elementary schools we can only 
give the tools, but here is the place where the tools can 
be put to work, and where instinct can be developed to 
benefit posterity. Here we have as it were the brains of 
a large number of good men, who, though dead, yet 
speak to those who will consult them. And while the 
frivolities of life are laid in the grave, that which is 
essential to posterity remains, and will remain as long 
as the nation lasts. 

The Rev. W. .\. O'Conor, B.A., said : It gives me great 
satisfaction to be here, and I feel greatly honoured in having 
been invited to take a share in this most important 
ceremony. We must remember that a Reference Library 
is not to be judged by the standard of other libraries ; it 
can only be used for very serious and laborious purjjoses, 
for anything that is done in the literary way must be 
done by intense labour. i\nything that is worth reading 
and answers to what Dr. Watts described must have 
been toiled and laboured upon, therefore we must not 
expect a numerous body of readers coming here. If we 
see a few coming we may rest satisfied that good work 
is going on ; angels' visits are {q.\\, but they are angels' 
visits. I trust those who come here will derive knowledge 
thereby which they will in some way communicate to 
others who are hungering and thirsting after it, and thus 
the blessings which such a library confers may spread 
through the whole nation. 

The proceedings then closed with a vote of thanks to 
the Mayor, proposed by Alderman Murray, and seconded 
by Councillor Booth. 

The Reading-room of the Reference Library is ver\- 
handsome in appearance, the somewhat inartistic pro- 
portion between the length and width being broken and 
relieved by two rows of fluted columns, and the effect 
heightened by a lofty central dome from which the space 


devoted to readers is lighted. When first opened about 
one hundred persons could be seated, and the room was 
frequently, especially in the middle of the day, crowded 
to excess. The first year's working in the new premises, 
1878-9, showed an issue to readers of 173,137 volumes, 
about 600 per day, and being nearly three times the 
number issued during any immediately preceding year at 

The central situation of the Reference Library and its 
ready accessibility from every point, have been the means 
of opening up its literary treasures to the greatest number 
of readers, and the constantly-increasing use of its valuable 
contents by the public sufficiently justifies and approves 
the wisdom of the Council in transferring to the Libraries 
Committee a building placed in the very heart of the city 
and occupying one of its most desirable sites. 

In May, 1882, the accommodation for readers was 
enlarged to about the extent of one-third, by the addition 
of a portion of the room previously used for the storage of 
books. But in 1887 this provision again became inadequate, 
owing principally to the great and increasing use made of 
the directories, patents, and newspaper files, and two 
rooms on the ground floor were formed and devoted 
specially to those purposes. These were opened on April 
2 1 St, and the library now possesses seats for nearly 200 
persons. Every improvement in accommodation for the 
public has, however, been made at the expense of that for 
the housing of the books, until at length the shelf-space is 
almost exhausted and there is no possibility of extending 
it in the building as it now exists. 

Much time and thoughtful consideration have been 
bestowed by the Committee on the subject of the enlarge- 
ment of the present building, and also on the question of 


the erection of a new one, but definite action on either 
proposal has not as yet been taken. 

On July 17th, 1893, during the installation of the 
electric light, a fire was caused in the central dome of the 
large reading-room. Considerable damage was done to 
the roof and decorations, but happily the books received 
no serious injury by fire or water. Whilst referring to this 
accident it may be mentioned that after the disastrous 
fire on January nth, 1879, which destroyed the Birming- 
ham Free Library, including the unique Shaksperian 
— cattectiDTT, the Manchester Free Libraries Committee 
manifested their sympathy with the people of Birmingham 
by presenting, with the consent of the Council, 278 
volumes and 1,600 pamphlets towards the formation of 
the new library. These were duplicate works, but many 
of them were rare, or otherwise valuable. 


When in 1877 the original home of the Public Libraries 
in Campfield, was so unceremoniously closed, the books of 
the lending department were also removed with those of 
the Reference Library, and stored in the old Town Hall. 
There they remained for four years. In the meantime the 
old building and site were sold to the Markets Committee 
of the City Council, and an arrangement was made in con- 
junction with that Committee, to erect on a site fronting 
Deansgate, a suitable building which should serve for the 
library, and also as an improvement of the Market 
entrance. Designs prepared by Mr. Geo. Meek, under 
the direction of Mr. John Allison, the City Surveyor, 
were adopted. The elevations are classic in style, 
carried out in stock bricks, with stone cornices, columns, 
panels, and other dressings. The ground floor consists of 
shops, and in the centre of the Deansgate facade is a wide 


entrance to the New Market, above which is a curved 
pediment filled in with figures in high relief representing 
Commerce, supported by Peace and Industry, flanked by 
figures representing Trade. To the right of this is the 
entrance to the library, consisting of a handsome doorway 
having semi-circular head carried on stone columns with 
carved caps. This gives admission to an entrance hall, 
tastefully inlaid with coloured tiles, from which a broad 
staircase leads to the apartments forming the library and 
reading rooms. On the walls of the staircase are hung a 
number of pictures, and above the door leading to the 
private rooms of the library is placed a marble tablet 
recording the names of those who constituted the 
committee at the opening of the institution. The chief 
room is very lofty, and measures 72j"e£t in length by 54 
feet wide. It is lighted principally from the roof, which is 
supported by light iron columns, but there are also 
windows on the side facing Deansgate. These windows 
have been made double in order to prevent annoyance 
from the street traffic. This fine apartment, which presents 
on entrance a most striking appearance, affords ample 
accommodation for the newsroom and library. The 
library is in the newsroom, and its work is conducted 
therein, but some separation has been made by a screen 
6 feet 6 inches high and a counter. The screen and book- 
shelves are of pitch pine, the reading stands and counter of 
mahogany, and the tables of oak. The floor is laid with 
indiarubber matting where required. The walls of the 
newsroom are hung with autotypes and engravings 
taken from the paintings of some of the most eminent 
artists, both ancient and modern, and forming a fairly 
representative collection. Opposite to the newsroom is 
the boys' reading room, similar in style, but considerably 
smaller, being 50 feet by 36 feet. It will accommodate 


100 boys, and is provided with a collection of books 
specially for their use. The total cost of the library, 
including fittings, was i^i2,ooo. The library was opened 
by a public meeting being held within its walls, on April 
5th, 1882, Alderman Thomas Baker, at that time Mayor 
of Manchester and Chairman of the Libraries Committee, 

The Mayor, who was received with loud applause, 
said : The branch free library we have now met to 
inaugurate is the successor of one which has an historical 
celebrity. The lending library at Campfield was the 
first lending-out library in Manchester. I do not find 
in the accounts of the proceedings connected with its 
establishment that it was even then called a branch 
library, nor do I know that it was at that time regarded 
as only the first of many future similar lending libraries. 
Its doors were opened in September, 1852, with 5,300 
volumes, and this number went on increasing until it 
amounted to 18,500 in 1877, when the building in which 
they were placed gave way, and they had to be removed 
elsewhere for safe custody. This failure of the building 
involved the erection of another, and was so far a great 
loss, but its situation was at a distance from the centre of 
business, and was consequently somewhat inconvenient 
of access, while the inherent defects of the structure were 
so great and so serious that I never regarded its removal 
as a very grievous calamity. The shelving space in the 
room in which the lending books were stored was 
insufficient, and the room itself was low, and being used 
as a news and reading-room, it could never be sufficiently 
ventilated though every means were taken to remedy 
the evil. The committee always felt that they were 
working under difficulties, and that the numerous 
complaints which were made in the newspapers and 
elsewhere were substantially true. When the library 
was closed the committee entered upon the consideration 
of a new library, with the advantage of a long and 
somewhat unpleasant experience. In the first instance, 
they did not contemplate a building either so large as 
that in which we are now assembled or in so public a 
situation, but the Markets Committee of the Corporation 
having possessed themselves of this plot of land, because 



it was contiguous to their market and fronting to one of 
the main streets of the city, and, as they needed only the 
ground floor, negotiations were opened with them which 
terminated in the Free Libraries Committee becoming 
the owners of the whole of the second floor of this 
building and all above it. The committee believe that 
in this structure they have avoided all the evils of the 
old one. As far as they can judge, they have ample 
room, most excellent ventilation, and a situation second 
to none in this great city. The books now upon the 
shelves are substantially those of the old Campfield 
Lending Library, except that the old, worn-out ones 
have been removed, and more than 2,000 volumes of 
new books have been substituted, making 18,000 
volumes to be lent to applicants free of charge. 
The reading-room will be provided with all the important 
newspapers of the day and a great number of periodicals. 
Manchester was the first town in England to make the 
experiment of a Free Lending Library under the 
Libraries Act, and it has carried out that experiment to 
a most successful issue. This good work has been com- 
municated over the length and breadth of the land, and 
I believe that in a few years there will not be any town 
of importance in England without its free library. It is 
admitted now that free libraries are a necessity, that they 
carry knowledge and its humanising influences to the 
firesides of the poor, and that they make such a 
provision for instruction that no honest effort after self- 
culture need now fail. The Corporation of Manchester 
are worthy of all praise for their arrangements for the 
supply of gas and water, for good and cleanly roads, for 
their efforts to remove nuisances and infectious diseases 
from our midst, and for their supervision of the general 
welfare of the city ; but I am disposed to think after all 
that the Free Libraries, comprising the Reference 
Library with its 70,000 volumes, and the six branch 
libraries, are the most noble public institutions which 
Manchester possesses, and that, great as is the work of 
the Corporation in other respects, if it be true, as I 
believe it is, that nine-tenths of the pauperism and crime 
from which society suffers arise from causes which men 
may themselves avert, there can be no nobler or higher 
effort than that of giving the people free access to those 
fountains of knowledge from which they may learn how 


to conduct themselves so, not simply, as to avoid these 
evils and relieve the community of their consequent 
expense and disgrace, but so as to bring into use, I 
would say so as to bring into every day use, those 
moral and intellectual faculties which are the greatest 
safeguards against idleness and crime. There is only 
one other point to which I would refer. The people are 
every day becoming more and more the depositaries of 
political power. If this power is to be exercised with 
judgment they must not only be educated, but have the 
means of acquainting themselves with what is going on 
in the Legislature and elsewhere, and of knowing what 
measures well-informed, enlightened, and experienced 
men consider to be best calculated to preserve the well- 
being of the State. These sources of knowledge are 
offered them in the branch libraries free of cost, and the 
monthly returns made to the Committee show how 
greatly the people avail themselves of the information. 
In the month of March last there were 151,000 visitors 
to the newsrooms of the several branch libraries in 
Manchester. These visitors all went there to read the 
newspapers mainly ; and as the Houses of Parliament 
were sitting, every day's newspapers would contain some 
political information, so that it may be presumed that 
all these readers were educating themselves for the 
discharge of their political duties. Now that this 
branch library is opened this number will be greatly 
increased. I declare this library to be open, and I 
trust that the means of instruction which it offers may 
be fully and freely used by all the people of the district 
in whose midst it is located. 

Mr. James Crossley, who was received with applause, 
said he always regarded his early connections with the 
free library, before it passed into the hands of the 
Corporation of Manchester, as one of the most agreeable 
passages of his life. The gentleman who undoubtedly 
originated the movement was his excellent friend Sir 
John Potter, and when he commenced to make the 
necessary preliminaries he called him to his counsels and 
said, ' If you will find the books I will find the money., 
He need not say that of the two the money was much 
more diflficult to find, and that it did not involve any 
particular degree of care or attention to do the part that 
he took in the matter, which was a most pleasant under- 



taking. He had the gratification of going up to London 
with the provisional Hbrarian, Mr. Edwards, to buy the 
books which constituted the original nucleus of the 
library, and which were sufficient to induce the Corpora- 
tion to set to work according to the free libraryenactments. 
He well remembered all the episodes connected with it, 
and he should never forget that meeting at which most 
inspiriting speeches were made by some of the first 
literary men of the day. Certainly those speeches were 
very interesting, some of them very eloquent, and there 
was one who was even more eloquent by his silence 
than by anything that he said, and that was William 
Makepeace Thackeray. He seemed to have some 
glimpse of what the library would come to, and it 
actually made him speechless. 

Visions of glory, spare my aching sight, 

these, he supposed, were before him ; at all events he got 
up but could net go on, and that, in a great master of 
the English language, was a rather extraordinary 
occurrence. He need not refer to the progress of the 
librar}' after it came into the hands of the Corporation. 
That was before them, and there were certain points 
which they must take for granted. He supposed it was 
an admitted fact which was distinctly proved that free 
libraries were a necessity, and, therefore, any words to 
show their utility would be perfectly superfluous. That 
part of the grand scheme which took in the lending 
libraries was, of course, one of its most essential points. 
He remembered a predecessor of the present Mayor 
whose sympathies were strongly excited in favour of 
those thirsty souls who passed along the streets of Man- 
chester, and who wanted fountains of living water to ^ 
quench their thirst. But there was an intellectual thirst 
which was quite as important, perhaps much more so, 
than even the physical thirst, and it had been ministered 
to in a very great measure by the six lending libraries 
attached to the Manchester Reference Library. When 
he considered the facilities now afforded, as contrasted 
with those of former days, the change seemed almost 
magical, because he remembered what was the state 
of the case in 1816, when he came to Manchester, 
and the difficulties that a young man who was 
omnivorous and desirous of reading laboured under 


in getting the books he wanted. When he came to 
Manchester if he had seen what he now saw, and had 
the opportunities that were now presented, he should 
not have envied the son of a king. The change which 
had taken place since 18 16, in regard to free libraries, he 
looked upon as one of the most extraordinary things 
that had happened. Of course there was then the 
Chetham Library, which was a very valuable library for 
more advanced students, but for the works of the day, 
unless they had shares in the Portico or one or two other 
libraries, they had to go to the smaller lending libraries, 
where the charge was 3d. for duodecimos, and 4d. for 
octavos, and in a larger degree for larger books. He 
need not say that every boy was not a Croesus, and that 
the threepences multiplied into rather larger sums than 
were at all agreeable. But now things were completely 
altered. Young men of the present day had their 
intellectual food supplied to them in really palatial 
edifices ; they had everything brought to them ; they had 
merely to say what they wanted, and they could take a 
book home, study it, and bring it back again. When he 
looked round he began to wonder where the young man 
was whose name was so frequently used in former days, 
and that was the ' pursuer of knowledge under diffi- 
culties.' He failed at the present time to see where the 
difficulties were. The only difficulties that he knew of 
were those attached to the collector of books, who in 
consequence of his family of books being too large could 
not keep them under any subordination or control ; they 
were always playing at hide and seek, and when a 
member of the family was wanted it could not be found. 
Of course they might have a remedy if every man who 
was a large collector of books had in his establishment 
a duplicate Mr. Sutton like his friend the chief librarian 
at the Reference Library, but Mr. Suttons were rarely to 
be met with, and he feared the collectors must be left to 
struggle with their peculiar difficulties without much 
sympathy from the public. When all those opportunities 
were afforded it was necessary to consider to whom they 
were in a great measure due. They were indebted for the 
successful working of the free libraries to the Corporation 
of Manchester, and he would say this, that on whatever 
ground the Corporation might be attacked — and 
very few Corporations which had large duties to perform 


were free from attack — it would never be on the score 
of their administration of the Free Libraries Act. On 
that point they were safe and secure, he would say, 
invulnerable ; and he thought it was the unanimous 
voice of the citizens of Manchester that a great debt of 
gratitude was due to them for the opportunities they 
had afforded, and for the mode in which that Act had 
been worked. He could not conclude his remarks 
without referring to the catalogue of the Reference 
Library in King Street, which had now been completed 
and issued to the public. The value of it ought to be 
known as extensively as possible. The library contained 
70,000 very excellently selected volumes, many of which 
were of the greatest value, but a library without a 
printed catalogue was actually worth little or nothing, 
and unfortunately good printed catalogues were the 
grand desiderata of the great libraries in this country. 
He did not hesitate to say that no such catalogue of any 
English or foreign libraries that he knew of had been 
issued to the public during the same period as that of 
the Manchester Reference Library. And when any 
person looked at the volumes, he would see at once 
upon the least degree of examination the patient care 
and the well adapted system with which the books had 
been catalogued. He looked upon it as a great honour 
and triumph that Manchester should have produced 
these three volumes which were so useful, and which 
made the contents of the library so valuable as the}-- 
now are. 

Councillor James Croston said many of them he dare 
say might have thought at times that the Libraries 
Committee were a little indifferent to their interests, and 
a little dilatory in making proper provision for their 
wants, but he thought after what had been done they 
would be of opinion the Corporation acted wisely in not 
carrying out the first intention of rebuilding on the site 
of the old structure, but had availed themselves of the 
opportunity afforded b}- the Markets Committee to give 
them that commodious and handsome room. There 
were those who believed it might be a question whether 
it was wise to place knowledge within the reach of the 
masses of the community. He rejoiced to think that 
in this matter Qreat strides had been made. The State 


had recognised its responsibilities, and had admitted its 
obligations to provide education for every child within 
the realm, and the free library system carried on the 
work where the school authorities left off. As the Mayor 
had told them, a large amount of political power was in 
these days left in the hands of the masses, and there was 
therefore a still greater reason why they should have the 
opportunity of being instructed in matters affecting the 
general weal, and he was glad to think that in the 
libraries now established in various parts of the city, the 
means were placed at the very doors of the people by 
which they might obtain information, instruction, and 
amusement upon almost every conceivable subject. He 
looked upon the lending libraries as the feeders of the 
Reference Library, which he considered an institution 
which Manchester had probably greater reason to be 
proud of than any other which it possessed. 

He ventured to believe that anything that tended to 
humanise and civilise the people was a subject that 
ought not to be beneath the notice of those entrusted 
with the management of local affairs. He- believed that 
such provision would have a humanising and civilising 
influence, and as it tended to make men happier, so it 
would make them better citizens and better subjects. A 
distinguished philosopher had once told them that he 
wished the barriers between man and man, between rank 
and rank, were not so harsh and high and thorny, but 
that they should be a kind of sunk fence, sufficient to 
draw the line of demarcation between one and another, 
and yet such that the smile of gladness and the voice of 
cheerfulness might pass over and be felt and heard on 
the other side. And when he visited the libraries and 
saw men of every rank and station — the professional 
man and the artisan, the pale-visaged student and the 
horny-handed son of toil — sitting side by side storing 
their minds from the wealth of knowledge thus provided, 
he could not but think the philosopher's hopes were being 
realised, that they were drawing closer heart to heart, 
and mind to mind, and lessening those disparities of 
social rank that were a hindrance to the free communica- 
tion of thought. The library system was commenced in 
Manchester, and they were proud of it, and in no city or 
town in the kingdom had it been carried out with so 


much public spirit, energy, and success as in this great 
workshop of the world. Manchester was now looked up 
to as the guide and instructor to other parts of the 

After votes of thanks, the proceedings terminated. 


At the meeting of the City Council on July 3rd, 
1878, a Memorial was presented by the Mayor from the 
Manchester and Salford Sunday Society, and the following 
is a copy thereof. 

To the Mayor, Aldermen, and Councillors of the City 
of Manchester. 

The Memorial of the Manchester and Salford Sunday 
Society showeth that your Memorialists appreciate very 
highly the benefits conferred upon the district by the 
Municipal Institutions devoted to Science, Art, and 

Your Memorialists are of opinion that the time has 
now come when these advantages might judiciously 
be extended by opening Reading Rooms, Reference 
Libraries, and Museums on Sunday afternoons and 
evenings, under such conditions as may be deemed 

Your Memorialists would point to the parallel case of 
the Public Parks, which have for many years been open 
with infinite advantage and without any of the evils so 
confidently predicted by the opponents of Sunday 
opening in that case. 

Your Memorialists most respectfully urge upon those 
who are the trustees of the public, that Libraries, 
Museums, and Art Galleries can only be regarded as 
instruments for the promotion of intellectual and moral 
well-being and as agencies opposed to ignorance and 
vice ; and that it is therefore of the highest importance 
that they should be made available on the only day 
when large sections of the community can benefit by 

Your Memorialists further urge their strong conviction 
that the Sunday opening of these Institutions would 
prove a powerful safe-guard against dissipation caused 
by enforced idleness and the temptations of the public- 


Lending Librji 


Reading Rooms 1 

















Hyde Road 




























































1 879-80 





























































































































































































































1 1759 


















































































4419 245 






































12314 24. 


































12254 236 





















































































































house and be a valuable auxiliary to the works of the 
Church, the Chapel, and the Sunday School. 

Signed on behalf of the Manchester and Salford 
Sunday Society. 

Henry H. Howorth, Chairman. 

Against this proposal forty memorials were presented 
to the Council emanating from the ratepayers and from 
various religious bodies, and one in its favour signed by 
1,776 persons. The subject was debated somewhat 
warmly at three successive Council meetings, and on the 
final division there was a majority of eight only in favour 
of the opening of the libraries on Sundays. The Com- 
mittee at once gave effect to the decision of the Council 
and on Sunday, September St^A^^TS^yall the libraries 
were opened at two o'clock, and remained open until 
nine o'clock. This arrangement continues unaltered. 

Whatever opinion may be held as to the propriety or 
advantage of opening these institutions on the Sabbath, 
and weighty arguments may be brought to bear on both 
sides of the question, it is clear from the accompanying 
table that the people will make use of the privilege if it be 
granted unto them. Since the reading-rooms were thrown 
open they have been visited 3,437,867 times by the public, 
and the present average is about 4,700 visits each 
Sunday. The literature used mainly consists of news- 
papers and periodicals, but few books being asked for 
except in the Reference Library, and is not therefore of the 
highest or most valuable class. Still, if by this means 
some men and women are kept from frequenting places 
of less healthy resort, that important object — the 
suppression of evil — which all good folk have at heart 
will in a measure have been attained. 

boys' rooms. 
Another very important extension was made in 1878. 
The number of boys who assembled in the several reading- 











































1880- I 
















































































I So 

3 '893 


































































201 16 



















1 990 1 

















































































house and be a valuable auxiliary to the works of the 
Church, the Chapel, and the Sunday School. 

Signed on behalf of the Manchester and Salford 
Sunday Society. 

Henry H. Howorth, Chairman. 

Against this proposal forty memorials were presented 
to the Council emanating from the ratepayers and from 
various religious bodies, and one in its favour signed by 
1,776 persons. The subject was debated somewhat 
warmly at three successive Council meetings, and on the 
final division there was a majority of eight only in favour 
of the opening of the libraries on Sundays. The Com- 
mittee at once gave effect to the decision of the Council 
and on Sunday, September 8th'^,^i^70 all the libraries 
were opened at two o'clock, and remained open until 
nine o'clock. This arrangement continues unaltered. 

Whatever opinion may be held as to the propriety or 
advantage of opening these institutions on the Sabbath, 
and weighty arguments may be brought to bear on both 
sides of the question, it is clear from the accompanying 
table that the people will make use of the privilege if it be 
granted unto them. Since the reading-rooms were thrown 
open they have been visited 3,437,867 times by the public, 
and the present average is about 4,700 visits each 
Sunday. The literature used mainly consists of news- 
papers and periodicals, but few books being asked for 
except in the Reference Library, and is not therefore of the 
highest or most valuable class. Still, if by this means 
some men and women are kept from frequenting places 
of less healthy resort, that important object — the 
suppression of evil — which all good folk have at heart 
will in a measure have been attained. 

boys' rooms. 
Another very important extension was made in 1878. 
The number of boys who assembled in the several reading- 



rooms in the evening caused so much inconvenience to 
grown-up readers as to suggest the desirability of pro- 
viding separate accommodation specially for them, and a 
room was accordingly prepared for them at Ancoats, and 
opened each afternoon at five o'clock, remaining open 
until nine o'clock This action was a revival of that taken 
at Campfield in 1862, to meet the like exigency, but which 
had been for many years discontinued. The room was so 
largely used that similar rooms have since been provided 
in each of the branch libraries. 

The following table shows the use which has been 
made of these rooms up to the present time : — 




























1 880- 1 
























i 884-5 




























1 15245 








1890- 1 




1 14524 











1 120 

































Totals ... 




I 80 I 097 



The Boys' Rooms are each provided with about 
500 volumes carefully chosen for their suitability to the 
class of lads who are likely to use them, and a selection of 
equally suitable periodicals. During the winter months 
they are, throughout the whole evening, crowded with lads, 
busily engaged in assimilating the literature provided for 
them. There can hardly be a more pleasing and 
suggestive sight than is presented by any one of these 
rooms, with its bright lighting, its busy and helpful female 
attendants, and its crowd of readers eager for amusement 
or instruction. And the boys themselves are of that age 
and class which it is most desirable to influence for 
good. Many of them are children of parents whose 
poverty draws them perilously near to the borderland of 
crime, but they are still too young to have crossed that 
border themselves. It is just such boys as these whom it 
is essential to detach from vicious companions, and to 
surround with every possible influence that can tend to 
moral and social improvement, if they are to be made into 
useful men and good citizens, and rescued from absorption 
into the pauper and criminal classes. 


Among the donations to the Reference Library in 
1878, were the libraries of two local Societies, the English 
Dialect Society, and the Manchester Statistical Society. 
Fifty-five volumes and some pamphlets, many of them 
rare works, were received from the English Dialect 
Society, who afterwards printed at their cost a catalogue 
not only of their own collection, but of the whole of the 
books on English dialects contained in the Reference 
Library. A very important addition to the English 
Dialect Library was made in August, 1887, when Mr. J. 
R. Wise presented his extensive collection to the English 


Dialect Society. Mr. Wise's collection numbered over 
150 volumes, besides a number of pamphlets, and many of 
the works contained annotations principally concerning 
the Warwickshire dialect in which Mr. Wise was interested. 
It is worthy of record that the English Dialect Library 
has been very extensively used by workers on Professor 
Wright's English Dialect Dictionary. The library of the 
Manchester Statistical Society consisted of 248 volumes 
and loi pamphlets. Special conditions were agreed upon 
for the transference of these libraries, those made with 
the English Dialect Society being as follows: 

1. All books deposited by the English Dialect Society 
in the Reference Library shall be kept together and be 
called ' The English Dialect Collection ' the Free 
Libraries Committee undertaking to keep them in 
good repair as to binding. 

2. The Free Libraries Committee will make a 
manuscript catalogue of the books, which shall be at all 
times open to the inspection of readers ; such books shall 
also be included in the Reference Library Catalogue. 

3. The public shall have the right of using such books 
on the same conditions as the other books in the 
Reference Library. 

4. Members of the English Dialect Society shall have 
the right on presentation of an order from the Secretary 
or Treasurer of that Society to take out of the library 
for home perusal, for such time as may be agreed on, 
any book so deposited by the English Dialect Society, 
the borrower of such book shall be responsible for its 
preservation and return. 

5. On the dissolution of the English Dialect Society 
these books shall become the absolute property of the 
Free Libraries Committee who will keep them together 
as theretofore, and allow them to be used in all respects 
as the other books in the library. 

A similar agreement was entered into with the Man- 
chester Statistical Society with the addition that the 
Society should extend its system of exchanges with other 
statistical societies, and that it should make additions of 


books to the library from time to time " due regard being 
taken to avoid unnecessary duplicates of books already 
in the Reference Library." 

In 1 88 1 the Manchester and Salford Sanitary Asso- 
ciation presented its library, numbering about 75 volumes 
and 50 pamphlets, and the Vegetarian Society, in 1888, 
followed these examples by sending its collection of 
works on vegetarianism, hygiene, and temperance to the 
Reference Library on similar terms to those already 
detailed. This collection, which then numbered over a 
hundred volumes and nearly a thousand pamphlets, and 
has since received frequent additions, includes some of the 
rarest of the early works on vegetarianism. 

Amongst the most valuable gifts of special collections 
of books which the library has received were two of those 
formed by Mr. John Eglington Bailey and sold after his 
death in 1889. These were his library of works on Short- 
hand, and the various editions of the writings of Dr. 
Thomas Fuller he had acquired when writing his Life of 
that worthy. The Shorthand Collection was purchased 
and presented by Councillor Henry Boddington, of 
Manchester, and the Fuller collection by Messrs. Taylor, 
Garnett & Co., the proprietors of the Manchester Guardian. 
The Fuller library comprises copies of nearly every edition 
of the many works of the author of the Worthies of 
England, besides books by other writers of the name of 
Fuller, and a selection of portraits and engravings illus- 
trating the life of the famous divine. It also includes a 
copy of Mr. Bailey's Life of Fuller, with many additions, 
made with a view to a new edition, together with a number 
of transcripts of interesting documents and other manu- 
script notes. The following account of the Shorthand 


Collection is from the pen of Mr. Ernest Axon, Assistant 
Librarian in the Reference Library. 

The Bailey Shorthand Collection consists of over 700 
bound volumes, including almost all the shorthand 
systems that have been published or used in England, 
from Bright to the present time. Of Dr. Timothy 
^. Bright's CJiaracterie : An Arte of Shorte, Swifte, and 
Secrete Writing by Character, 1588, well-known as the 
first English shorthand, and so scarce that only one 
copy, that in the Bodleian Library, is known, Mr. Bailey 
possessed a transcript. Dr. Bright was a Yorkshireman, 
and a clergyman and physician. Another clergyman, 
John Willis, B.D., was author of the Art of StenograpJiie, 
the twelfth edition of which in the Bailey Collection, is 
almost unique, no copy being known to Dr. Westby- 
Gibson when he compiled his exhaustive Bibliography 
of Shorthand. Edmond Willis is represented by the 
second edition of his Abbreviation of Writing by Character. 
Thomas Shelton's Tachygraphy,o( \Nh.\ch. Mr. Bailey had 
the 1 64 1 edition, was an important work in its day, and 
after the fashion of the time, the author prefixed to this 
edition commendatory verses — some of them marked by 
fulsome adulation — from various of his students. What 
would be thought if a book of the nineteenth century 
were to be heralded, as Shelton's TacJiygraphy was, in the 
following lines, signed by Nath. Mason, of Gonville and 
Caius College ? — 


Why should I praise thy Art in writing, when 
Thy art and praise surmounts the praise of men ; 
For if thy way of writing had been showne 
To ages past, Printing had ne're beene knowne, 
Nor the invention sought or valued ; when 
The Presse can scarcely overrunne thy Pen : 
So that what honour's due unto the Quill, 
Or glory unto those that have the skill 
In faire Orthographic, their titles stand 
As pages to attend upon thy hand. 

Two of Jeremiah Rich's pretty little volumes, 2 14 by 
I yo, inches, are in the collection, as is also the anonymous 


first edition of the Mercury, or, the Secret and Szuift 
Messenger, showing how a man may, xvith privacy and 
speed, comnncnicate his thoughts to a friend at any distance 
(1641). This was written by John Wilkins, Cromwell's 
brother-in-law, who, after the Restoration, became 
Bishop of Chester, and one of the founders of the Royal 
Society. The second edition of the Mercury, dated 
1694, has the author's name. William Mason, a short- 
hand teacher in London, was author of a system which 
was much used in the seventeenth and early in the 
eighteenth centuries. There are here several of his 
works, including his earliest, A Pen Phick'd 
from an Eagle's Wing (1672), and Arts Advancement 
(1682). To the latter is prefixed an engraved portrait 
of the author, and underneath appears the following 
lines, from the pen of ' S. W.,' which show the rivalry 
that existed then, as now, between authors of different 
systems : — 

Let Shelton, Rich, and all the rest go down, 
Bring here your Golden Pen and Laurel Crown, 
Great Mason's nimbler Quill outstrips ye Winde, 
And leaves ye Voyce, almost ye Thoughts behind. 
In vain may Momus snarl ; He scares on high, 
Praise he Commands, and Envy does defie. 

When we consider that Mason's system was partly 
hieroglyphic and required an immense amount of memory 
work to be of any use, this praise certainly seems to 
border on exaggeration. Peter Annet, a native of 
Liverpool, is represented by the whole of his shorthand 
books ; and John Byrom, of Manchester, by four copies 
of his posthumous tfniversal EnglisJi Shorthand (1767), 
and by numerous variations and improvements by 
Molineux, Gawtress, and others. The whole of the 
different editions of the Polygraphy of Aulay Macaulay, 
the Saint Ann's Square, Manchester, tea dealer, are in 
the collection, and the other local systems are here in 
more or less completeness. Amongst them may be 
mentioned the Stenography printed at Poughnill, in 1S06, 
by George Nicholson, previously of Manchester, and 
remembered as one of the promoters of cheap and well- 
got-up books, and also as an uncompromising advocate 
of a non-flesh diet. In the Rudiments of Shorthafid, 


by Thomas Andrews (1744), we have a book that has 
hitherto escaped record by bibliographers. Another 
unrecorded and stillborn, but pretentious work is The 
World's J eivel; or, the Oxford Book of Shorthand {ly^g), 
by the Rev. Mr. Jonathan Smart, who, unlike his prede- 
cessors of the previous century, were content to have 
their systems puffed by their friends, preferred to do the 
puffing himself On his title-page is found the following 
modest verse : — 

Go forth, my little book, and loudly tell, 
If you've an equal, none can you excel : 
Of this, with justice, truly you may boast. 
All purchase learning, cheaply, at my cost. 
Here's time well spent, — who ever in it looks, 
Aloud proclaims — This is the book of books ! 

Will it be believed that the ' book of books ' contains 
only 36 duodecimo pages? Gurney, Mavor, Pitman, 
and all the modern attempts also find a place in the 
Bailey Collection. Useless systems are sandwiched 
between systems that have done excellent service even 
if they are now forgotten by all but those who, like 
the late collector of this library, find few things so inter- 
esting as old books. A portion of Mr. Bailey's shorthand 
library consisted of manuscripts written in shorthand, 
amongst which may be named a beautiful manuscript 
entitled, A Choice Selection of Prose and Poetry, and 
written in shorthand by Peter Robey, at Mr. Birchall's 
School, Manchester, in 1818 ; letters from Cambridge, 
by Richard Clowes, brother of the well-remembered 
rector of St. John's, Manchester ; and several volumes 
of the works of Dr. Philip Doddridge. Mr. Boddington's 
gift makes the Manchester Free Library collection of 
books on shorthand one of the finest in the world. 


The most recent presentation of a special collection of 
books is that made by Mr. Thomas Read Wilkinson, for 
many years the manager of the Manchester and Salford 
Bank, He addressed the following letter to Alderman 
Harry Rawson, then Chairman of the Libraries Committee. 


The Polygon, Ardvvick, 

September 5th, 1895. 
Dear Alderman Rawson,— When the late Alexander 
Ireland died, and his effects were dispersed, I purchased 
a collection of books which he highly valued, and which 
had occupied many years of his life in gathering together. 
The collection comprises Hazlitt's works, and those of 
Leigh Hunt, Emerson, Carlyle, and Charles Lamb, 
numbering about 360 volumes. There are also various 
manuscripts, including the original manuscript of Mrs. 
Ireland's Life of Jane Welsh Carlyle. I wish to present 
this collection, with the bookcase which holds it, to my 
native city, and I venture to express the hope that it 
may be kept together in the City Library as a memorial 
of our late dear old friend and citizen Alexander Ireland. 
Yours sincerely, 

T. R. Wilkinson. 

Besides a large quantity of pamphlets, letters, reviews, 
and other cuttings, and some unpublished material the 
collection consisted of 86 volumes of the writings of 
William Hazlitt, 104 of those of J. H. Leigh Hunt, 83 of 
Thomas Carlyle, 48 of Ralph Waldo Emerson, and 38 
of Charles Lamb. Mr. Wilkinson also commissioned the 
Chief Librarian to purchase at his charge any books or 
documents not included in the collection and relative to 
its subjects, which might from time to time be obtainable. 
In drawing attention to this valuable and unique gift in 
the Council Alderman Rawson said : 

The gift is one of peculiar interest. The books will 
lend distinction to the collection of the Corporation, and 
will supply amusement and instruction to generations of 
readers. The donor is a well-known citizen, himself not 
unpractised in the art of facile and graceful expression. 
The collection comprises 360 volumes of the works of a 
group of writers distinguished for their acumen as critics, 
their ingenious theories of art and letters, and their 
profound teachings in philosophy and morals. Their 
names would always be associated with the history of 
our literature, which, he believed, for variety, value, and 
extent, had no equal either in ancient or modern times. 


These volumes were collected during a long course of 
years by their late esteenned friend and citizen Mr. Alex. 
Ireland, the Editor of the Manchester Examine}' and 
Times, who was remarkable alike for culture and 
urbanity. He had a familiar and extensive knowledge 
of the writings of Hazlitt and Lamb, of Coleridge, and 
Carlyle, and of Emerson, and enjoyed the personal 
friendship of several of them. Special reference was due 
to the manuscript of the Life of Jane Welsh Carlyle, by 
Mrs. Ireland, whose literary acquirements were of no 
ordinary kind. I feel sure that the Council will 
sympathise with the pleasure which this exceedingly 
valuable addition to the treasures of the library has 
been received by the Committee, and will unite with 
them in a cordial acknowledgment of Mr. Wilkinson's 

About this time the Committee purchased a remark- 
able and rare gathering of books, pamphlets, and manu- 
scripts relative to the gipsies which had been accumulated 
by Mr. Paul Bataillard, of Paris. The following description 
of this collection is also the work of Mr. Ernest Axon. 

The Bataillard collection contains the principal books 
relating to the gipsies, but it is especially rich in 
pamphlets, many of which are now scarce, and prac- 
tically unobtainable. Nearly all the works in the 
collection have been annotated by the late owner, a 
leading student of the gipsy and his lore, and in many 
cases very elaborate tables of contents have been made, 
which will, of course, render the collection very useful 
to the student. To attempt to give a list of all the 
works in the collection would occupy considerable space, 
for it contains, perhaps, four or five hundred pieces, 
ranging from works in several volumes to pamphlets of a 
few pages, and to short articles taken from magazines, 
newspapers, and encyclopaedias. Of the principal works 
may be mentioned editions in German, French, and 
English of Grellmann's Historisclicr Versuch iiber die 
Zigenner, which, though over a hundred years old, 
remains the only attempt at a full history of the gipsy 
race. The French edition of Grellmann is interleaved, 


and is most elaborately annotated by M. Bataillard. 
Grellmann may be regarded as the founder of the 
modern study of gipsy lore. He was not the first writer 
on the subject, for this collection contains a number of 
pamphlets of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, 
but he was the first who studied the gipsies scientific- 
ally, and he concentrated into his history practically 
all that was known of them at the time he wrote. 
Of his successors who have really added to our 
knowledge of the gipsies, there have been surprisingly 
few. Among those who have made real advances, 
M. Bataillard himself takes high rank. The collection 
includes the whole series of his pamphlets. In the 
earlier of these he elaborated Pott's theory of the 
identity of the gipsies with the Indian tribe of Jats, who 
went to Persia about 420 A.D., and were afterwards 
dispersed over Asia and Europe. In his later works M. 
Bataillard saw reason to reject this theory of gipsy origin. 
His later opinion was that the gipsies had existed in 
Europe from immemorial times, a conclusion to which 
he was led by the absence of any record of their passage 
across the Bosphorus, by their enslaved condition in 
Wallachia in the fourteenth century, by casual notices of 
their presence in Europe at a still earlier date, and by their 
present monopoly of the metallurgical arts in south- 
eastern Europe. Bataillard's later theory also included 
the attribution to the gipsies of the spread of a know- 
ledge of bronze among the Neolithic races of Europe. 

Of works relating to the gipsies in England and 
Scotland M. Bataillard had made almost a complete 
collection, aided not a little, as many inscriptions show, 
by our townsman Mr. H. T. Crofton, himself one of the 
leading authorities on the subject. Of English writers, 
the best known is perhaps George Borrow, whose works, 
which relate both to the English and Spanish Gipsies, 
have all the charm of romances. Borrow's last work 
was called Romano lava /z7, a word book of the 
English Gipsy language. Mr. C. G. Leland has also 
written a number of works on the gipsies, which from 
their style appeal not only to students of the gipsies, but 
to a much larger circle of readers. In the late Dr. Bath 
Smart and Mr. H. T. Crofton, Manchester can boast 
of two writers whose works are extremely valuable to 
gipsiologists. Their Dialect of the English Gipsies is the 


Standard work on the subject. The Scottish Gipsies 
have not been neglected. They figure in several of 
Scott's novels, and the Yetholm Gipsies have had quite 
a number of books devoted to them. Some of the 
English writers on the gipsies have been interested, not 
in the ethnology or philology of the gipsies, but in the 
very difficult problem of converting them to Christianity. 
The Rev. James Crabb, who appears to have been the 
first to conceive the possibility of their conversion, 
wrote the Gipsies Advocate, and devoted some years of 
his life to his thankless task. A society was formed, 
and some of its publications are in the collection. 
Though not primarily intended to aid ethnologists this 
phase of gipsy study produced books which contain 
incidentally much of value to the student. The late 
Geo. Smith, of Coalville, was an enthusiast for the moral 
elevation of the gipsies and his entertaining books are 
also here. An always interesting if somewhat incoherent 
writer, Mr. James Simson, edited a so-called History of 
the Gipsies, which is by far the best book on the Scottish 
Gipsies, and he has written a number of pamphlets to 
prove that John Bunyan was a gipsy, and that the gipsy 
element in the British population is much greater than 
is generally supposed. The curious Ancient and modern 
Britons and Scottish Gipsies under the Stuarts, both by 
Mr. MacRitchie, and the excellent Journal of the now 
unfortunately extinct Gipsy Lore Society should not 
escape mention. Naturally foreign writers are well 
represented, Paspati on Turkish, Liebich on the German, 
Vaillant on the Roumanian, Sundt on the Norwegian, 
and Ascoli on the Italian gipsies, are all included. The 
privately printed Czigdny Nyelvtan by the Archduke 
Joseph, was presented by the author to M. Bataillard 
and contains the latter's scholarly notes. A very 
interesting series of works on the Transylvanian Gipsies 
by Heinrich von Wlislocki is included. Some scarce 
articles contributed to various Dutch almanacs fifty 
years ago, and Dirk's Der Heidens inde Noodelijke 
Nederlanden will be useful for the study of the gipsies 
in the Netherlands. It may be added that M. Bataillard 
did not disdain to add to his collection romances and 
plays in which gipsies figured. The newspaper cuttings 
are very numerous, and the collection also contains 
several albums of photographs, both of gipsies and 


writers on the gipsies. Besides these there is a small 
collection of combs, bells, and other articles manufactured 
by gipsies. 

Catalogues of these various special libraries and 
collections have been prepared and are kept in print. 


After a brief illness Mr. Crestadoro, the third Chief 
Librarian, died on 7th April, 1879. Andrea Crestadoro 
was born at Genoa in 1808, was educated at the public 
school there, and afterwards entered the University of 
Turin where he graduated Ph.D. Soon afterwards he was 
appointed a Professor of Natural Philosophy in the 
University, and whilst thus engaged produced some 
pamphlets on social economy and cognate topics, among 
them being Saggio cT instituzioni siilla facolta della parola 
and a treatise on Savings Banks in which he advocated 
their introduction into Italy. Turning his attention to 
the study of English he acquired a sound theoretical 
knowledge of the language and translated into Italian a 
considerable portion of Bancroft's History of America 
which was published. Visiting England in 1849, he found 
British institutions so much to his liking that he remained 
in this country and became a naturalised British subject. 
Being fond of mechanical experiments and possessing an 
ingenious mind he busied himself during his early years 
in this country with a number of inventions. Whilst 
resident in Salford, in 1852, he obtained letters patent for 
" Certain Improvements in Impulsoria," and other patents 
were granted to him in 1862, 1868, and 1873. His 
"Impulsoria" patent was meant to facilitate and lessen 
animal labour without superseding it, and the method of 
obtaining this desirable advantage consisted of the 
introduction of an animal walking on an endless artificial 


ground, and thus transmitting power to the driving wheels 
— in short, of turning a horse into a turnspit. His 
favourite study was aerial navigation, and one of the 
patents he took out was for " Improvements in the means 
and apparatus for Navigating the Air." A model of a 
" Metallic Balloon " constructed in accordance with his 
theories was shown at the aeronautical exhibition at the 
Crystal Palace, London, in June, 1868, and a description 
of it was printed. 

The failure of his patents led him to undertake 
bibliographical work, and he became employed by Messrs. 
Sampson Low & Co. on the compilation of the British 
Catalogue and the Index to Currefit Literature. The latter 
contained references to all articles of importance in 
periodicals and in the more valuable newspapers and 
extended over the years 1859-61. This work led him to 
frequent the British Museum and he was naturally attracted 
to the problem then agitating the public mind of the 
compilation and printing of the catalogue of that institu- 
tion. Li an ingenious treatise on the Art of viaking 
Catalogues his ideas for the solution of that and other 
cataloguing difficulties were expounded, and they were 
afterwards utilised in the compilation of the catalogues of 
the Manchester Free Libraries. The "index catalogues" 
which he originated have been found eminently serviceable 
for displaying the contents of free libraries, and have been 
largely adopted as models by the municipal libraries of 
the Kingdom. 

Dr. Crestadoro's pamphlet published in Paris in 1861 
with the title Du Pouvoir temporel et de la Souverainete 
Pontificale is a concise treatise on the mechanism of 
government, and is said to have suggested to Cavour and 
Menabrea the possibility of a modns vivendi between the 
Papacy and the Kingdom of Italy. Attending the Social 


Science Association's Meeting at Cheltenham in 1878, he 
there read a paper entitled On the best and fairest viodc of 
raising the Public Revenue advocating therein the abolition 
of all indirect taxes, and the raising of the requisite 
supplies by a single direct contribution which " ought to 
come out of the use of property, and not directly out of 
property," though the brochure was published both in 
English and French, the scheme must have been either 
too original or too revolutionary, for it did not receive the 
attention or serious consideration which its cleverness 
and merits deserved. In the same year he was created a 
Knight of the Crown of Italy, an order founded on the 
attainment of Italian unity. A work on the management 
of joint-stock companies was left in manuscript, and has 
never been printed. 

His fifteen years direction of the work of the Man- 
chester Public Libraries were marked by an enlightened 
liberality and constant and earnest endeavour to extend 
the usefulness of the institutions. Nearly all the changes 
introduced into their management at his suggestion were 
in the direction of the modification or abolition of 
restrictions. He thoroughly believed that free libraries 
should be free, and those of Manchester are now less 
hampered by " rules and regulations " than probably any 
other. His catalogue of the Reference Library remains 
a monument of patient industry and bibliographical 
knowledge. To him succeeded the present Chief Librarian, 
Mr. Charles William Sutton, who for several years had 
filled the post of Sub-Librarian. 

From 1872, when the Cheetham Branch was opened, 
to the year 1887, the efforts of the Free Libraries Com- 
mittee were confined principally to the improvement and 


extension of the buildings and privileges already provided. 
By the opening of the Cheetham Branch the chain of 
libraries encircling the then city of Manchester was com- 
pleted, and it was not until 1886, when the out-townships 
of Bradford and Harpurhey were added, that any necessity 
was felt for more branches. The means then at the dis- 
posal of the Committee were, moreover, entirely absorbed 
in the maintenance of the institutions already existing. 
When, therefore, a demand was made upon them for the 
extension of the Free Library system to the new districts, 
they found it impossible fully to comply with the request, 
but to meet the public needs as well as their funds would 
permit, reading rooms, supplied with newspapers and 
periodicals and a few hundred books for reading on the 
premises, were opened in Bradford, Harpurhey, and Hyde 
Road. To these have since been added other rooms 
situated in Chester-road and Crescent-road, Crumpsall. 
The advantage of these reading-rooms lies in their com- 
parative cheapness, the cost of maintaining one of them 
being about one-fourth that of an ordinary branch. These 
small and comfortable rooms, in which the best newspapers 
and periodicals of the day can be read amid clean and 
cheerful surroundings, possess undoubtedly great attrac- 
tions for all classes of workers after their day's labour is 
done. As their original cost and that of maintenance is 
small, it would seem to be sound policy to extend the 
system, and plant them wherever the population is thick, 
the neighbourhood cheerless, and the alternative places of 
pleasant and useful resort but few. 

Though deeply interested by, and taking an active 
part in, the scheme for the creation of a "greater Man- 
chester," Sir Thomas Baker did not live to witness its 


effects on the fortunes of the public Hbraries. He died on 
the 17th April, 1886, just after the completion of the 
incorporation of the first batch of out-townships. At the 
time of his death he had been Chairman of the Libraries 
Committee for close upon twenty-two years. For upwards 
of a quarter of a century he had devoted much time and 
energy to the work of the City Council. He had served 
on nearly all its more important Committees, and was a 
member of the Free Libraries, Watch, Art Gallery, and 
Town Hall Committees when he died. 

His voice was a power in the Council Chamber. His 
speaking was clear, cold, and decisive. There was no 
rhetorical display, no flowers of speech, but a relentless 
marshalling of fact and argument, which almost invariably 
carried conviction. Minutely anxious as to facts, he was 
exact and exacting in their use. Caustic at times, at 
times bitter, he did not seem to care whether he made 
friends or enemies, provided only that his words swayed 
the majority in favour of the view he advocated. 

His character, partly natural, partly formed by his 
legal training, was strong, imperative, wilful. Yet he was 
by no means unamenable to reason, and was possessed of 
a profound sense of justice and right. He would never 
take a mean advantage, and was ever an honest and 
straightforward opponent. His mental endowments were 
above the average, and they had been expanded and 
strengthened by careful culture. Gifted with wide 
sympathies, he took interest in many things, from ento- 
mology in his early youth, to astronomy and botany in 
his old age. He was Vice-President of the Council of 
the Manchester Royal Botanical Gardens from 1876 to 
his death. He was a lover of books and of reading, 
though he wrote little, his only works being a brief 
Memorials of Oldham's Tenement at Crumpsall^ published 


in 1864, in 4to, with illustrations; a Memoir of his 
brother, Dr. Charles Baker, the eminent instructor of 
the deaf and dumb ; and Memorials of a Dissenting Chapel. 
This book was an important contribution to the history 
of religion in Manchester, the dissenting chapel whose 
records were preserved therein being the Unitarian Chapel 
in Cross Street, the earliest home of Presbyterian Non- 
conformity in the city. Over five hundred volumes of 
books relating to local history, and accumulated principally 
for the compilation of the Memorials of a Dissenting 
Chapel, were afterwards presented by him to the 
Reference Library. His literary tastes lay principally in 
the direction of genealogy, biography, and topography, 
and his love of antiquarian lore led him to become a Vice- 
President of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian 
Society. He was a Liberal in politics, but never took an 
active part in political controversy, and strongly deprecated 
the introduction of party spirit into Municipal Councils. 

Thomas Baker was born in Birmingham, on May i6th, 
1 8 10, and received his early education at the Grammar 
School of King Edward VI. His studies were continued 
at Manchester New College, York, where he remained 
for five years. It was intended that he should enter 
the Unitarian Ministry, and for six months he was in 
charge of a congregation at Sidmouth, but this profession 
being distasteful to him, he went to Manchester, was there 
articled to a solicitor, and was admitted a solicitor in 
1840. He soon acquired a good practice, and began also 
to interest himself in public affairs, which led to his 
election to the City Council in i860. 

Amongst the first Committees upon which he was 
placed to serve, was that of the Public Free Libraries. 
This, although apparently a small matter, gave colour to 
his whole after career. Being himself a cultured man, 


knowingwell and appreciating keenly the value of education 
and knowledge, knowing also, from his experience as a 
Guardian, the misery and degradation of the poor, he saw 
in these Free Libraries one means of alleviating the 
misfortunes of thousands of his fellowmen, of cheering 
them, of raising their mental and moral calibre, and of 
opening out to them paths which if followed must surely 
lead to improvement in their worldly condition. This 
was a field of labour worthy of the best efforts of a 
worthy man, and Mr. Baker threw himself into it with his 
usual energy. In 1864, he was elected Chairman of the 
Committee. Into their work Mr. Baker threw his whole 
heart, and he was ever ready to adopt any suggestion 
which would make the Public Libraries more popular or 
more efficient. 

During his many years of office as Chairman of the 
Committee, he had the satisfaction of seeing the institu- 
tions under their charge grow in number and usefulness 
almost beyond his largest hope. Many important changes 
in the management of them were introduced by him, or 
accomplished by his advocacy, such as the opening on 
Sundays, the provision of Boys' Rooms, the transference 
of the Old Town Hall to the Committee, and the 
employment of female assistants. On this latter subject 
he read a paper, before the meeting of the Library Associa- 
tion, at Manchester, in 1879, of which meeting he was 
elected President. Here is the paper in abstract. 

The employment of young women as assistants in public 
libraries is a recent experiment first tried in Manchester, 
and the result of circumstances which I will endeavour 
to explain. For nineteen }-ears after the formation of 
the Manchester Free Libraries, boys and young men 
only were engaged as assistants. Good wages were paid 
them and their work was of a lighter and pleasanter 
kind than that of many other employments. No 
dissatisfaction was ever expressed with the work, but the 


younger boys considered it a grievance to have to remain 
after ordinary office hours, and the elder ones learned as 
they advanced in years that they were becoming qualified 
for better-paid situations. The consequence was that 
the older and better class of youths obtained other 
situations with a greater increase of wages than their years 
warranted, and the frequent vacancies that occurred 
caused much trouble and inconvenience in the mainten- 
ance of that order and efficiency which were essential to 
the carrying out successfully of the work of the libraries. 
At that time, 1871, the subject of women's rights, duties, 
and employment, and particularly her exclusion from 
certain trades and professions, was engaging the attention 
of thoughtful people, and I therefore suggested that 
young women should be tried as assistants in the libraries. 
The suggestion was assented to, and three young women 
were engaged. The branch librarians would have 
preferred the continuance of the old system, but they 
did not allow that feeling to interfere with the carrying 
out of the wishes of the Committee, and now I believe 
there is not one of them who is not in favour of the 
change. The experiment answered in every way, and it 
has been to the Committee a subject of great gratification 
that they have been the means of introducing young 
women to a new class of labour. At the present time, 
1879, they had thirty-one in their service, at wages 
varying from 10/- to 18/- per week. They are regular 
in their attendance, attentive to their duties, uniformly 
courteous to borrowers, and contented with their employ- 
ment. Changes are few, and if a vacancy does occur 
there are many applicants for it. 

Some of the ladies originally engaged have since been 
appointed Branch Librarians. Mr. Baker also made a 
strong effort to obtain for the Reference Library a grant 
of all books and papers printed at the public expense, 
addressing to the Members of Parliament for the city 
(Hugh Birley, Jacob Bright, and Sir Thomas Bazley) the 
following letter : — 

28, Jackson's-row, Manchester, 
March 15th, 1871. 

Dear Sir, — I beg to forward to you the following copy 


of a Resolution, passed by the Manchester Public Free 

Libraries Committee : — 

Resolved unanimously, — That the Chairman be 
requested to communicate with the Members for 
this city, with a view to securing their interest 
with the Government to obtain for the Reference 
Library copies of the Proceedings of both Houses 
of Parliament, of the Publications of the Lords of 
the Admiralty, and of such other Government 
Publications as may be of general interest. 
The Committee are convinced that the Publications 

referred to in the Resolution would be so widely read, if 

they were accessible to the frequenters of the Manchester 

Reference Library, as fully to justify a compliance with 

their request by the several authorities with whom the 

power of presenting them lies. The following is a list 

of Publications, printed at the public charge, which are 

wanted in the Manchester Reference Library : 

Papers presented to Parliavmit. 

Papers piiblisJied by the Secretary of State for the Colonies. 

Publicatto?is of the Board of Trade. 

Publications of the Commissioners of Public Works. 

Publications of the Geological Survey. 

Papers published by the Authority of the Secretary of 
State for India. 

Publications of the Board of Ordnance. 

Publications of the Board of A dmiralty. 

Publications of the Greonvich Hospital. 
Works published by the Record Commission. 
Works published by the State Paper Commission. 

Chronicles of Great Britain, published by authority of the 
Master of the Rolls. 

Publications of the South Kensington Museum. 

Publications of the National Gallery. 

The papers presented to Parliament have been already 
applied for, but the Speaker stated his inability to 
comply with the application, on the ground that it would 
create a precedent which would entitle any public 
library to demand a similar donation. This answer 
may fairly be reconsidered. The papers in question are 
printed at the expense of the nation, and presumably 
for its benefit and enlightenment. By being deposited 
in the Manchester Free Library the wants of the largest 


population of the North of England would be supplied, 
and the object of the publication of the papers most 
fully insured. 

Works published by the Government are at this 
present time presented to some public and semi-public 
libraries. Works issued by the Government have also 
at various times been presented to this library. Among 
them may be specified certain publications of the Record 
Commission, all the publications of the Commissioners 
of Patents, the literary and scientific works issued by the 
British Museum Trustees, and the Journal of the House 
of Lords. There would seem, therefore, to be no fixed 
principle established to warrant the refusal by one 
department of the public service of what is conceded by 

An application was made by the Manchester Public 
Free Libraries for a copy of the Momumnta Historica 
Britannica, and refused, whilst the application of the 
Salford Free Library for the same work was acceded to. 
The Illustrations of the Textile Fabrics of India was 
presented to the Salford Free Library and refused to the 
Manchester Public Free Libraries. The inconsistency 
of these decisions should be observed. The library 
whose request was granted is inferior alike in size and 
usefulness to the one whose request was refused. Again, 
the application of the Manchester Public Free Libraries 
for the valuable series of Chronicles published by the 
authority of the Master of the Rolls was refused, yet a set 
was afterwards presented to the Chetham Library, Man- 
chester. This library is open only half the number of 
hours in the year that the Manchester Reference Library 
is open, and it is visited by about 15 readers daily, 
while the Manchester Reference Library is frequented by 
about 300 daily. 

The last report of the Manchester Reference Library 
shows that in the preceding year 73,799 readers attended 
the Library. These came from all parts of the county 
of Lancaster, and from the neighbouring counties of 
Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Cheshire. Such is now the 
repute of the Manchester Reference Library that it is 
regarded of equal importance and value to the North of 
England as the Library of the British Museum is to the 
Metropolis. As an evidence of the immense boon which 
the gift to the Library by the Commissioners of Patents 


is, the Free Libraries Report shows that last year 
192,007 Specifications of Patents were examined. This 
is not an exceptional number ; in the preceding^ years 
the references to them were equally numerous. 

The funds placed at the disposal of the Committee by 
the penny rate are necessarily limited ; a large part of 
them is spent in salaries and other current expenses. 
The publications referred to in the resolution are costly 
in price, and being printed at the expense of the nation, 
may be appropriately and justly given to a library 
which has been established solely for the improvement 
of the immense population in the midst of which it is 

A similar letter to this has been sent to each of your 
colleagues, Sir Thomas Bazley and Mr. Birley, and the 
Committee trust that you will be able to exert such 
influence as will induce the authorities to comply with 
this application, for the benefit of the extensive and 
important district of which that vast community 
represented by you in the House of Commons is the 

I have the honour to be, dear Sir, 
Yours very respectfully, 

Thomas Baker, Chairman, 
Manchester Public Free Libraries Committee 
To Jacob Bright, Esq., M.P. 

The Chairman received a reply from Mr. Jacob Bright, 
acknowledging the receipt of his letter, and stating that 
he was not sanguine of success, from having on a former 
occasion endeavoured to obtain these publications and 
failed. The answer of Sir Thomas Bazley contains the 
words — " I dare not give you the hope of success, but our 
best efforts shall not be the cause of defeat." In an 
interview with Mr. Birley, the Chairman explained fully 
the requirements of the library, and subsequently sent 
him a copy of the last Annual Report, directing his 
attention particularly to that part of it which showed the 
great attendances of readers for the purpose of consulting 
the books in the Reference Department. 


These efforts were made in the early part of the year, 
but the Parliamentary Session closed without any further 
communication from the Members for Manchester. The 
subject engaged the attention of the Committee, who 
were unanimously of opinion that all publications of 
general interest printed by the National Departments out 
of public moneys ought to be presented gratuitously to 
the large public free libraries throughout the kingdom, 
and a resolution was passed — 

That the Chairman be requested to put himself into 
communication with the Free Library Committees 
of Birmingham and Liverpool, with a view of 
inducing them to join in a united action with 
the Government Officials for the purpose of 
obtaining for the free libraries the publications 
printed at the public expense. 

This action was taken, but the result was disappoint- 
ment, and the public are still awaiting the privilege of 
being permitted to conveniently consult the books which 
they have paid for, and yet are assumed to have no 
desire to see. 

In 187s, Mr. Baker became an Alderman, and in 
1879 the mayoralty was offered to him but declined on 
account of ill-health. In the following year, the offer 
being renewed, it was accepted, and his first year of 
service, 1 880-1, as Mayor of Manchester, was entered 
upon. Perhaps the most interesting and certainly the 
most characteristic event of the first year of his mayoralty 
was the banquet he gave in honour of Harrison Ainsworth, 
the novelist. In honouring Ainsworth as a distinguished 
Lancashire representative of literature he gave fitting 
expression to his own love and regard for books and their 
authors, and emphasized it by bringing together to meet 
the "Scott of Lancashire" an imposing gathering of 
local literary men and women. The veteran novelist, who 


died in the following year, was much moved by the 
reception he received, and afterwards dedicated his last 
work, Stanley Brereton, to Mr. Baker. A pleasing 
memento of the occasion was provided by the Mayor in 
the form of a small volume containing a portrait of 
Ainsworth, a memoir, a list of his works, and facsimiles 
of some of the illustrations to them. A copy of this 
tasteful little book is preserved in the Reference Library. 
The second year of his mayoralty, 1 88 1-2, though full 
of ordinary business was comparatively uneventful, [n 
replying to the resolution of thanks voted on the termina- 
tion of his second term of office as Mayor, Mr. Baker said : 

I thank the members of the Council for the approving 
words of the resolution which has been passed. When 
I received the appointment of Mayor, I felt that it was 
the greatest honour which was likely to be conferred on 
me, and I have, during my period of office, earnestly 
endeavoured to discharge its duties. These duties have 
resolved themselves into two classes : — first, those 
immediately and distinctly appertaining to the office ; and 
secondly, those of an honorary nature, which I might or 
might not discharge. As regards the first; I have never 
been absent from a meeting of the Council or of the 
General Purposes Committee, and I have not been 
absent from the meeting of any committee of which I 
was chairman, except when otherwise engaged, on 
Corporation business. The special matters to which 
attention has been given, and which are worthy of notice 
now, are: — (i) The transfer of the Royal Institution to 
the Corporation ; (2) The arrangement for the printing 
of the Court Leet Records ; and (3) the consideration of 
the question as to the enlargement of the municipal 
boundaries. As regards the transfer of the Royal 
Institution to the Corporation, Manchester has long felt 
the need of an art gallery. Though this need is not yet 
supplied, I trust that in the course of the next twelve 
months the internal alterations of the building may be 
completed, so that the committee may proceed to collect 
objects of art. I look upon the printing of the Court Leet 
Records as the first step towards a faithful and complete 



history of Manchester. Those seven M.S. volumes 
contain a full and unvarnished history of the mode 
of life of our predecessors, and of the then manage- 
ment of our town. The enlargement of the municipal 
boundaries I regard as a most important matter. 
Situate as Manchester is, in the midst of several smaller 
local authorities, with a teeming population, I see a way 
in which it may become, beyond all debate, and very 
weighty reasons why it should become, the largest and 
most important city next to the Metropolis. Any 
adjoining districts which think of uniting their fortunes 
with Manchester should, in my opinion, be received on 
fair, equitable, and generous terms. One of the first 
advantages would be a participation in an experienced 
government, which has no other object than that of the 
common good. Such districts would, I do not doubt, be 
fostered into greatness, and gradually attain as much 
municipal excellence as the present city. I do not 
think there is a town in the kingdom which has done so 
much within the same period as Manchester has done 
since its incorporation. It has made gigantic strides 
towards securing the health of its inhabitants in the 
matters of water and gas ; it has its parks and recreation 
grounds (of which latter it has fallen to my lot, during 
my year of office, to dedicate two to the public use) ; it 
has widened its streets, made squares, and erected one of 
the most magnificent town halls in the world ; it has 
given a palatial character to its warehouses ; it has 
fostered education by its free libraries and School Boards ; 
and, lastly, it has secured a temple for the worship of the 
fine arts. As regards the good works which it has not 
been obligatory upon the Mayor to engage in, I may 
simply say that I have considered it my duty, as 
far as the imperative work of the office of Mayor per- 
mitted, to preside, when requested, at meetings connected 
with benevolent, learned, and scientific objects. I have 
endeavoured to preserve the dignity and hospitality of 
the office with which the Council entrusted me, and I 
believe that I have handed over the chain of office to 
you, my successor, as bright and untarnished as when it 
was placed on my shoulders. 

During the last of these years of office Mr. Baker had 
a curious dispute with the gentleman, then acting as High 


Sheriff of the County, on precedency. Mr. Baker thought 
the Mayor should take the precedence of the Sheriff on 
important official occasions, but the Sheriff could not 
agree to this proposition. This contention exhibited a 
characteristic trait of his character. He had a respect 
amounting almost to reverence for ceremonial and for 
those courteous observances which are supposed to be due 
to high dignitaries and to those in authority. Amidst the 
somewhat rough and democratic heartiness of Manchester 
society, this seemed quaint and old-fashioned. Yet he 
undoubtedly understood, appreciated, and to a large extent 
possessed those things which we call the feelings and 
instincts of a gentleman. In 1883 the honour of knight- 
hood was conferred upon him by the Queen in person. 
This distinction so well won and so well deserved, would 
have been to him a source of much gratification, had it 
not been for the sorrow which befel him in December of 
the previous year by the death of his wife. Probably to 
distract his mind fi'om this bereavement he still continued 
to take an active part in municipal duties, and the trans- 
ference of the Royal Institution to the Corporation, the 
incorporation of the out-townships with the city, and the 
printing of the Court Leet Records, all received a large 
share of his attention. This latter work was truly a 
labour of love, for in it his antiquarian tastes were 
strongly gratified, and his interest in local history pleasingly 
revived. He died in his seventy-sixth year, literally in 
harness, full of years and of honours; and many a genera- 
tion will pass away before the remembrance of his 
jealousy for the welfare and the renown of Manchester, 
and his zeal in her service shall have faded from the 
minds of men. 

Whatever honour posterity may accord to Sir Thomas 
Baker, the better portion will undoubtedly be given in 


recognition of his disinterested labours for the enh'ghten- 
ment of the community whilst acting as Chairman of 
the Manchester Free Libraries Committee. At a meeting 
of the Committee, shortly after his death, the following 
resolution was unanimously adopted : — 

That the Public Free Libraries Committee record 
their profound sense of the loss they have suffered 
by the decease of Alderman Sir Thomas Baker, 
their esteemed chairman, who has devoted his 
best energies to the work of the Committee during 
a period of twenty-five years, and whose eminent 
ability, wise guidance, literary culture, and keen 
interest in the diffusion of knowledge exercised 
by him unsparingly in the interests of the 
Manchester Free Libraries have resulted in 
greatly increasing the importance, usefulness, and 
extent of those institutions. They desire to 
convey to the members of his family their earnest 
sympathy with them in the bereavement they 
have sustained. 

From 1885 to 1890 Manchester was busily engaged 
in extending its boundaries. When the second of the 
Acts obtained for this purpose was passed, eight more of 
the townships bordering on the city were added to the 
five which had previously lost their individuality and 
become absorbed in greater Manchester. Many of these 
townships, as part of the price of their willingness to efface 
themselves, asked for and obtained the assurance that 
free libraries should be established in their districts. 
The Libraries Committee found, however, that the 
additional income which they derived from the new 
rateable areas was insufficient for the purpose of providing 
the desired institutions. They, therefore, appealed to Parlia- 
ment, and in 1 891, by a clause in a local act, obtained 
powers to increase the rate leviable from one penny to any 
sum not exceeding twopence in the pound. Thus armed, 
the Committee began their second great era of extension. 



The following tables show the increase in the number of 
volumes in the libraries, and the extent to which they were used 
immediately before the extension of the boundaries of the city : 

ROOM IN 1886-7. 


Lending Libraries 












I., 11. Theology and 


III. History, Biography, 








































IV. Politics and Com- 


V. Science and Art 

VI. Literature and Poly- 


VII. Fiction 

Specifications of 

Embossed Books 

for the Blind 
















AR FROM 1870-71 TO 1 886-7. 




Lendin(; Libraries 




XOi'±-0 <>/i>uw 

1875-6 1 6121.S 




1880-1 _.„... 

1881-2 21019. 

1882-3 2.r_'(i4> 

1883-4 278S7(i 

1884-5 2832;-!2 

1885-6 294444 

1886-7 I278.35.S 

1721 69i 
94S34I1 67.-11 (i 
!i2.-)79 l(i(;7S.-> 
closed iaiS(i!i 


1l!4.S77 2:..S4:{ii 
14:il47 27i».S7s 

1. ■).■>,")( I i2;«4Ns 




SSI 12 



SSI i( ;.") 

1 4:-! 11:^ 


98725 180146 
10.3753 18S147 41173 
1:5II4(IS19'.I!I7<I 6.S:347 
111492 1S1)14.-. (i!t9.->4 
!l!»!)74 lS(i:i!)(l 68476 
;C)4771S(i4!l4 (;(il29' 
!)7i;.->.-)17.-)l!« <>32h-v 
'.17271 l'.t07:^(i 75979] 
l(l(il4i)i':iS4(l2i 966261 
107.-. 11 17:r4s! 1(10548; 

iDiiiiMi i'.i(i;!s:!!i(ii)(;30' 
I(i4(;s7 2(i77s2 lii.-)919 
l(»;2-_'7 I'.i;i741;li;s764: 
l()(i(lS7 2()t;(il() 1691941 
17147(1222914 142374: 
1S771S 21(1224 141300; 
































9850791 3281 

966468 2777 

971337 2908 
1065853 3269 
1191588 .33.38 
1:320:393 3700 
1:^81149 3847 
1461740 4150 
1462028 4107 


Newton Heath was the first of the new districts 
which received their attention. There they under- 
took the completion of the Hbrary which formed 
part of a handsome building under construction by the 
Local Board for municipal purposes at the time of 
incorporation. This library was opened on September 28th, 
1 89 1, with 4,828 volumes, a considerable portion of them 
having been purchased out of the proceeds of a 
subscription of ^^240 raised by residents in the neigh- 

The Newton Heath Free Library owes its origin to a 
movement began in April, 1886, when a meeting was held 
in the Primitive Methodist School, Dean Lane, for the 
purpose of considering the best means of aiding science- 
teaching in the township. A committee was then formed 
to " consider and formulate a scheme for carrying out a 
proposed Literary and Scientific Institute," and eventually 
a requisition was presented to the Local Board in favour 
of the adoption of the Libraries x-^cts. At the Town's 
Meeting, which was held on 13th December, 1886, a 
resolution was passed adopting the Acts, and upon a poll 
being demanded, the ratepayers confirmed the decision of 
the meeting. The poll was taken in January, 1887, the 
number of votes being as follows : — In favour of the 
Libraries Acts, 1,544; against, 1,185 \ majority, 359. 

The Local Board afterwards resolved to erect a group 
of Township Buildings, to include Public Baths and a 
Public Assembly Hall, in addition to a Free Library and 
a School of Science and Art. Designs for these buildings 
having been submitted, the Board ultimately selected those 
of Mr. Lawrence Booth (Messrs. Booth and Chadwick, 
of Manchester); and Messrs. William Southern and Sons, 
of Salford, were appointed as builders. 


In January, 1891, the representatives of Newton 
Heath and Miles Platting Wards invited subscriptions 
from residents of the district, with the object of making 
the library more complete and extensive than would 
otherwise have been possible with the funds at the disposal 
of the Free Libraries Committee. In response to this 
appeal it is gratifying to record that the following contri- 
butions were received : — 


Mr. William Vickers . . . - 100 

Messrs. W. Holland and Sons - - - 50 

Mr. John Marsden ----- 10 

Councillor Garlick . . - - - 10 

In Memory of the late Mr. David Burton - 5 

Mr. G. A. Chambers ----- 3 

The Trustees of the late Mechanics' Institute, Newton 
Heath (Messrs. Alderman George Evans, W. T. Evans, 
James Evans, S. L. Chadwick, and J. W. Williamson), 
gave the sum of £\6 los. 2d.; and Councillor W. T. 
Rothwell, as treasurer of the Newton Heath Jubilee Fund, 
handed over £,\A, 9s. as the residue of that fund. 
Councillors Morgan and Tetlow presented a handsomely- 
bound set of the EncydopcBdia Bfitannica ; and some 
admirably selected books were given by Mr. E. M. Dixon, 
Mr. John Burton, and Councillor Trevor. 

A tablet commemorative of these benefactions, as 
well as of the opening of the library by the Mayor of 
Manchester (Alderman Mark), is placed in the library. 
Another tablet, recording the names of the members of 
the Local Board under whose auspices the buildings were 
erected, is fixed on the wall near the entrance to the 
readino; room. 


In addition to 4,417 volumes provided for borrowers, 
there were 299 volumes set apart for boys, in a reading 
room devoted especially to their use ; and in the general 
reading room there is a bookcase containing 112 volumes 
of Encyclopaedias, Dictionaries, and other books of refer- 
ence. This room, which is furnished with an ample supply 
of the most popular magazines and newspapers of the day, 
is also provided with celestial and terrestrial globes. 

The inauguration of this Branch, which took place 
on the evening of Monday, 28th of September, 1891, was 
an especially noteworthy event, as it was the first of 
a series of libraries to be opened in the districts added to 
the city by the Incorporation Act of 1890, and marked 
the beginning of a great development of the system, and 
therefore a much wider diffusion of the educational and 
recreative benefits of the public libraries. 

Prior to the public meeting there assembled in one of 
the rooms in the library building the Mayor and Mayoress 
of Manchester, many members of the City Council, and 
a number of the influential inhabitants of the district. 
Councillor J. W. Southern, Chairman of the Free Libraries 
Committee, presented the Mayor, on behalf of the 
Committee, with a gold key, which on one side bore the 
arms of the City, and on the other the inscription, 
" Presented to Alderman John Mark, Mayor of Manchester, 
by the Free Libraries Committee on the opening of the 
Newton Heath Branch Free Library, 28th September, 
1 89 1." The Mayor accepted the key, but said that before 
making any remarks about it he must give it a trial. The 
Mayor, accompanied by the guests, then proceeded to the 
library door, which he unlocked. The public were 
admitted, and an inspection of the various rooms was 
made. Having filled up the usual form guaranteeing the 
return of any book which he might borrow from the 



library, the Mayor was supplied with Smiles' Self Help. 
After this an adjournment was made to the public hall, in 
which a large audience of some 700 persons had assembled. 
Councillor Southern presided, and there were also on the 
platform the Mayor and Mrs. Mark, Aldermen B. T. Leech, 
W. H. Holland, and G. Evans ; Councillors Harry 
Rawson, J. B. Fullerton, Jas. Hoy, W. T. Bax, J. Norris, 
W. T. Rothwell, Charles Rowley, W. Trevor, D. M'Cabe, 
T. C. Abbott ; Mr. George Milner, Mr. J. H. Reynolds 
(Secretary of the Technical School), the Rev. E. F. Letts, 
the Rev. B. Button, Messrs. J. Ward, S. L. Chadwick, 
G. A. Chambers, J. Coleman, W. T. Evans, J. Garlick, 
Thomas Milnes, J. Neild, A. Nicholson, H. Tetlow, John 
Williamson, J. W. Williamson, J. P. Wilkinson, C. W. 
Sutton (Chief Librarian), and W. R. Credland (Sub- 

The Chairman said they were met for the purpose of 
declaring open and dedicating to the public use the fine 
room in which they were then assembled, and also the Free 
Library which had just been opened by the Mayor, and 
from which he had just received as a borrower, that very 
admirable book. Self Help, by Mr. Smiles. He 
supposed it would be like carrying coals to Newcastle 
for him to describe to the people of Newton Heath, the 
building in which he then stood, inasmuch as they had 
seen it growing up before their eyes for some time past, 
and were acquainted with it as being a very prominent 
and a very ornamental addition to the architecture of 
the district. The Baths which form a portion of the pile, 
had already been opened, and he believed were now in 
successful working. That room would be an admirable 
provision for the future. He only wished they had such 
rooms in all the districts of Manchester. This was one 
of the most important needs in some parts of the city, 
so that the inhabitants could meet either to discuss 
public affairs; or to listen to lectures and instructive 
addresses. Besides the public room, the baths, and the 
library, they had established a Boys' Room, which they 
regarded as an exceedingly important part of their free 


library system. In all their large libraries they had got 
a cheerful, well-lighted, pleasing, attractive room for the 
boys, provided with books specially adapted and 
attractive to youth, and it was an exceedingly pleasant 
thing. It was one of the enjoyments of his life to go 
round to these Boys' Rooms and see some of these little 
fellows, many of them coming from homes where there 
might be no great degree of pleasure or comfort, with 
an interesting book before them, and among the sordid 
surroundings of their own lives, deriving pleasure 
from another though to them ideal imaginative world. 
He claimed for Manchester that only one city — that of 
Boston, in the United States — exceeded Manchester in 
the number of books distributed among the people by 
the free library system. He dared say it would be news 
to many of them to know that during last year 1,564,000 
volumes were issued from the Central Library of 
Manchester and the various branches. He claimed that 
that fact represented an enormous amount of good. 
They had recently increased the city by the amalgama- 
tion of a number of townships, of which Newton Heath 
was one. In the course of the negotiations which led to 
this amalgamation certain promises were held out to 
these districts that some of those municipal conveniences, 
of which free libraries were one, should be supplied to 
every district. They did not need to make that promise 
to Newton Heath, for the public-spirited men of that 
township had already decided that for themselves. 
Those buildings did not owe their origin to the 
Corporation, but to their predecessors in the local 
government of the district — the Newton Heath Local 
Board. This was only what they might have expected 
from what they knew of the district. The Newton 
Heath Library was the first of the series of branch 
libraries which were bound to be established in the 
various districts in consequence of the amalgamation 
which he had referred to. The Committee would open 
two others this winter, one at Longsight, and the other 
at Rusholme ; and plans were now in the process of 
development through which they hoped there would be 
a still further and considerable extension of their library 
system. He hoped they would maintain the position 
they had hitherto held in relation to other free libraries, 
and to the distribution among the masses of the people 
of wholesome and healthy literature. 


The Mayor, Alderman John Mark, said he regarded 
the completion of the buildings with very great pleasure 
indeed. The Committee had paid him a very high 
compliment in asking him to perform the opening 
ceremony ; and if there were any regret at all, it might 
be that their politeness to him had deprived them of a 
very learned address from another prominent person. 
He could promise them no such address. He felt on 
occasions of that kind at a very great disadvantage when 
attempting to address an audience. However, he had 
always endeavoured to do his best, and he was sure that 
they would accept his remarks in the sincerity of purpose 
in which he desired to address them. It was not 
necessary for anyone occupying the position he did that 
evening to make any defence for, or enter into an 
explanation about, the establishment of free libraries. 
That was settled by the citizens of Manchester forty 
years ago, when they were the very first municipality, 
and he said it with some pride, to sanction a rate being 
levied for library purposes. Therefore they might very 
truly say that free libraries in Manchester had long 
since passed their elementary stage. It might be that 
some would say that they had been provided at a very 
considerable expense. Well, for his own part he did 
not think it was a bad investment. They had been 
limited by Act of Parliament to a library rate of one 
penny in the pound, which, in this greater Manchester, 
would yield something like i^ 10,000 per annum. Lately, 
however, they had gone to Parliament, and had obtained 
power to extend the rate, if they could prudently expend 
it, to twopence in the pound. They might call that a 
very considerable annual charge upon the rates, but he 
held that even if they went to the full extent it would 
still be a good investment. If, by the distribution of 
this wholesome literature, by improving the education 
of the people, the result should be to reduce the poor 
rate, the gaol rate, and the police rate, it would be an 
admirable investment. Therefore they admired the 
wisdom of those who went before them and provided 
institutions for the people such as libraries, museums, 
art galleries, parks, and baths, the last not entirely free, 
but yet nearly so. It was quite remarkable how much 
attention was now being paid to continuous education 
through evening classes of every kind. He might instance 


the valuable work done by the Free Libraries Committee. 
Not only did they carry on the work of education during 
school years, but they afforded valuable aids to study 
beyond those years. Many instances were known of men 
who owed to the knowledge acquired in the libraries much 
of their success in life, to say nothing of the great and 
high delight that reading and study afforded. The 
importance of none of these things could be overestimated. 
What did the mass of literature placed at the service of 
the people, through the instrumentality of the free 
libraries, mean? It meant that the representatives of the 
people in the City Council and others who took an 
interest in education were determined to do their duty 
in respect to educational matters to those whom they 
represented by placing in the power of the public the 
means of obtaining, on the very easiest terms, the best 
literature which the world has produced. Their repre- 
sentatives had no personal end of their own to serve, and 
only hoped that the people would avail themselves to the 
full of their splendid opportunities. It had been said 
that they could take a horse to the water, but could not 
make him drink ; and so they might bring books to 
Newton Heath, but they could not make the people use 
them. It rested entirely with themselves, and having 
had some experience of improving his own education by 
means of borrowing useful books, he could commend 
that course to all ycung people present. Of course they 
wanted also healthy, pleasant recreation, but he appealed 
to them to devote some portion of their time to self- 
improvement. He appealed to the fathers and mothers 
present to take an interest in their children's studies and 

Councillor Harry Rawson said no duty more accept- 
able could possibly have been assigned to him than 
that of recognising in that magnificent assembl)- the 
great and handsome services rendered by some of their 
neighbours. He moved : — 

That the thanks of this meeting are presented to the 

kind and liberal donors of books and other 

matters for the use of the neighbourhood of 

Newton Heath and Miles Platting. 

The donors were well known to them. Many of them 

had served the public in various important capacities. 


Whatever other satisfaction the donors might have, they 
knew they had helped in the inauguration of a great work 
of enh'ghtenment in this district, and done something 
towards improving the intellectual, moral, and social 
level, and the individual recreation of the inhabitants of 
this neighbourhood through many generations to come. 

Mr. George Milner, in seconding the motion, said two 
classes of persons were visibly rising in general estima- 
tion and importance — the librarian and the elementary 
schoolmaster. In his opinion both these classes should 
rank as professions, and their members should be 
thoroughly educated and certificated in relation to their 
special work. The library ought to bear an important 
part in the systematic continuation of education. There 
was no better continuation school then the library. He 
hoped everything would be done to make the Newton 
Heath Branch Library an educational institution — not 
merely a place where people might go to borrow a book 
casually, as it were by accident, without a purpose and 
without direction, but a place where they might be guided 
by those who were competent to give them assistance. 
He wished to make a suggestion which he had made 
elsewhere on similar occasions. He thought the library 
would not fulfil its proper purpose until there were given 
in connection with it systematic lectures, not on books 
in general, but upon the books actually in the library — 
lectures which should tell the people what they ought to 
read and how to read it. Then, again, what librarians 
called 'hand lists' should be prepared, so that a student 
who did not know his way among books might, so to 
speak, have a hand stretched out to him and be shown 
how to make the library of real use to his own education. 
He was satisfied that whatever the elementary schools 
might do, unless a direct connection could be established 
between the elementary school and the public library 
their work would not be half done. Even on its recreative 
side, reading might be made educational. The novel, no 
less than the treatise, would be of signal service in the 
education of the young, if it were only rightly selected 
and rightly used. Boys and girls in school should not 
only be taught to read, but to love reading, so that the}' 
themselves might continue their education when they left 
school. He sometimes feared that the great facility now 
given for acquiring education in school was not conducing 



as much as it should do to help forward a real love of 
learning. He remembered hearing Mr. Ben Brierley 
(who was a Failsworth lad) once say that when he was 
a youth he thought they learned better how to climb 
towards education because they had to make their own 
ladders. He hoped that although the ladders were now 
made for them in abundance, the young people would not 
be unwilling to climb. Schoolmasters and others should 
try above all things to give those who come under their 
charge a real enthusiasm and love for knowledge. The 
real student had never done learning. Over the grave of 
Green the historian, in the cemetery at Florence, there 
was this epitaph — and this only — ' He died learning.' 

Councillor James Hoy, Chairman of the Technical 
Instruction Committee of the City Council, in supporting 
the resolution, said that meeting was also the public 
inauguration of the science and art classes in that 
neighbourhood. While in Newton Heath they had the 
latest addition to the libraries, they had at the same 
time the commencement of science and art teaching and 
of technical instruction directly in connection with the 
Corporation. This was not only the first effort in 
Manchester in that direction, but it was also one of the 
very first in the kingdom. Not more than half a dozen 
towns had as yet taken this matter into their own hands, 
and they in Manchester up to the present time had only 
supplemented the funds of other institutions. Now they 
had advanced a step further. They had provided all 
fittings and apparatus for those rooms, such as desks, 
drawing materials, laboratory accommodation, and other 
things. They intended to have a series of domestic 
economy lectures, including lectures on cookery, dress- 
making, and in what was called first aid to the injured. 
They had asked the officers of the Technical School to 
take in hand the management of these classes and the 
providing of an efficient staff of teachers. There was a 
considerable list of lectures in science and art and 
commercial subjects, as well as the specific classes for 
women which he had mentioned, and he hoped the 
inhabitants of Newton Heath would take full advantage 
of them. This was only part of the scheme for general 
higher education, because those who attended the schools 
there might look forward to being participators in a 


ver\' considerable number of scholarships that were being 
established b)' the Manchester Corporation in the various 
higher educational institutions of Manchester. 

Alderman VV. H. Holland, in replying to the vote of 
thanks, said, on behalf of those who had done some little 
to make the library more complete, he acknowledged 
with gratitude the resolution which they had just now 
been good enough to pass with so much enthusiasm. 
That was to him a red letter day, and one to which he 
had looked forward for a very long time. They knew 
that the scheme for these public buildings was hatched 
in the old Local Board office. Of course they did not 
like to refer very much to those old Local Board days, 
because it was an antiquated kind of government which 
they had then. He hoped that they had already felt 
the advantage of the change which had come about in 
their public life. He ventured to hope that those 
buildings would exert a very admirable and very blessed 
influence upon the public life of the neighbourhood. 

The Chairman, in bringing the business of the meeting 
to a close, expressed the hope that if any little defects 
were found to exist with regard to the library, those 
finding them would write to him instead of sending 
anonymous letters to newspapers. He never neglected 
to take notice and attend to any letter on free library 
matters which was addressed to him as Chairman of the 
Free Libraries Committee, and he promised them that 
if there was anything they had to say which was deserving 
attention they should have it. 

Whilst busy with this undertaking, the Committee 
had the gratification of receiving from the Trustees of the 
Longsight Mechanics' Institution and of the Rusholme 
Public Hal!, both situated in newly added districts, offers 
to transfer their properties to the Corporation for the 
purpose of conversion into free libraries. Both offers were 
accepted, and the^buildings adaptedfor their new services. 
The Rusholme Branch was opened on April 30th, 1892, 
and the Longsight Branch on July 23rd of the same year. 


The Rusholme Public Hall and Library commenced 
its career in hired rooms in 1850, the building in which the 
Free Library is now located being opened in i860. This 
institution was founded " to afford facilities for the moral 
and intellectual improvement of the neighbourhood, and 
to afford accommodation for public gatherings consistent 
therewith." The cost of erection, fittings, &c., about 
;i^2,8oo, was raised in public subscriptions, supplemented 
by the proceeds of two bazaars, held respectively in i860 
and 1864. 

For more than thirty years a good reading room and 
library were provided for a small subscription, a boys' 
day school was successfully carried on, a savings bank 
was efficiently worked, and a large room was available for 
concerts, public meetings, and like purposes, at a reason- 
able rental. Other recreative departments, a gymnasium, 
bowling alley, and billiard room, were from time to time 
added, and, becoming attractive features, retained their 
popularity for many years. Prior to the incorporation of 
Rusholme with Manchester the Local Board had its offices 
in the building. 

The successive Presidents of the Institution were: — 
Mr. E. Langworthy, Mr. J. H. Mayson, Mr. W. R. 
Callender, Mr. P. Goldschmidt, and Mr. J. Parlane ; while 
Archdeacon Anson, one of the founders, officiated con- 
tinuously as a Vice-President. 

A gradual but marked decrease in the number of 
subscribers made the Directors somewhat anxious about 
the future of the hall, and after mature consideration they 
decided to recommend its conversion into a free library 
and reading room under the Manchester Corporation, 
hoping that thereby its usefulness would be increased, 
and that it would prove a great boon to the district. The 
proposal being favourably received by the Free Libraries 


Committee, a special meeting of the members was held 
on September 8th, 1891, and the following resolution was 
passed : — 

That the Rusholme Public Hall and Library be 
dissolved on the 29th of September, 1891, and 
that all necessary steps be taken for the disposal 
and settlement of the property of the Institution, 
its claims and liabilities, according to the rules of 
the said Institution applicable thereto ; and, 
further, that upon the satisfaction of the debts 
and liabilities of the said Institution, any property 
whatsoever which shall remain shall be given to 
the Corporation of Manchester for the general 
use of the public. 

Negotiations for the transfer were at once begun, and 
in accordance with the terms of the aforesaid resolution, 
the Institution was closed on September 29th, 1891. 
Certain structural alterations necessary to adapt the 
building to the purposes required were completed in April, 
1892. The general reading room, lending library, and 
boys' reading room, all adjoining and communicating, 
are very conveniently situated on the ground floor, while 
the large room above is kept for public use as formerly. 

The building converted into a Free Library under 
municipal control was opened on Saturday, April 30th, 
1892, by Sir Henry Roscoe, in the presence of a large 
gathering of the inhabitants of the district. The Mayor 
of Manchester (Alderman B. T. Leech) presided, and 
those present included Lady Roscoe, Archdeacon Anson, 
Professor Ward, Professor Wilkins, Councillor J. W. 
Southern (Chairman of the Free Libraries Committee), 
Councillor Harry Rawson (Deputy-Chairman), and Alder- 
man Bowes (Chairman of the Salford Libraries and Parks 
Committee), Professsor Tout, Professor H. B. Dixon, 
Alderman Edwin Guthrie, Alderman Hinchliffe, Professor 
A. Milnes Marshall; the Revs. J. J. Twist, H. Norburn, C T. 


Poynting, and W. H. Finney ; Councillors Hoy, Gunson, 
Norris, and Royle ; Messrs. John H. Nodal, W. E. A. 
Axon, Charles W. Sutton (Chief Librarian), J. Taylor Kay, 
J. R. Beard, Frank Hampson, J. R. Finlayson, George 
Esdaile, George Hahlo, W. B. Dewhurst, W. F. Lane, 
Hugh Rowland, Theodore Neild, J. T. Foard, and James 

The Mayor, in his opening remarks, said it was not 
many years since Rusholme became joined to Manchester, 
and when that contract was ratified there were a few 
dissentients who thought the union was not one that 
would be happy for both parties. He thought that now 
most people would agree that Manchester and Rusholme 
had pulled together amicably. He was sure that 
Manchester had done its best for Rusholme, and 
Manchester, on the other hand, had been met with the 
greatest kindness and public spirit, not only by Rusholme 
but by the other out-townships that had been incorporated. 
In Openshaw they had had presented by the Whitworth 
Legatees i^6,ooo and a large piece of land ; the 
inhabitants of Newton Heath had contributed a large 
sum of money to stock the library that the Corporation 
had recently completed ; in Longsight they had had a 
handsome institution presented to the city ; and now 
those who had been associated with the Rusholme 
Public Hall had very generously handed it over to the 
Corporation free of cost, to be used as a free library. 
He felt sure the library would prove a great blessing to 
the inhabitants, and that it would tend, as the other 
libraries of the city were tending, to diminish crime and 
improve the education of the people. 

Sir Henry Roscoe was received with applause on 
rising to declare the library open. He said that to his 
mind one of the most satisfactory proofs of English 
advance in civilization and refinement was to be found in 
the establishment by the ratepayers of free libraries, and 
he must be allowed to congratulate the inhabitants 
of that populous district, in which he had so happily 
lived for so long a time, on the acquirement of a 
municipal free library. But they must not forget 
that that institution had existed there for a long 


time, and that Rusholme was not behindhand in having 
a Hbrary of its own, though not a municipal one. 
The Rusholme Public Library and reading room was 
established in the year 185 1, and was held in a 
room over the present coffee tavern in Wilmslow 
Road. The founders were the Ven. Archdeacon Anson, 
Mr. W. Entwistle (afterwards M.P.), Mr. Edward Wild, 
Mr. Thomas Lowe, Mr. S. Royle (now Councillor), and 
others. Lectures were given monthly, and the place was 
well used by the working people. The object of the 
founders was to provide for the residents of Rusholme 
opportunities for educational and social enjoyment. 

We in Manchester, he thought, might be proud of the 
fact that our Central Free Library was the first to be 
established in the country after the passing of the 
Libraries Act of 1850 Surely none of the ratepayers' 
money was more productive of good than that spent in 
the establishment and equipment of free libraries. Of 
this we might be assured when we learn that the number 
of readers and borrowers in Manchester for the year 
ending September 5th, 1891, reached the enormous 
figure of 4,327,038 — the largest number of persons using 
a library in the world, with the single exception of Boston, 
in the United States — whilst the number of volumes 
lent for home reading was 702,803, and of these only 13 
were missing. Here we had an instance of what 
co-operation could do. No single individual, except at 
an enormous cost to himself, could do what we had done 
at a cost to every ratepayer of a sum which he could 
scarcely feel, but which put each citizen in possession of 
a library of which the most wealthy might well be 

Of the value of books and reading so much had been 
said by writers and speakers, both ancient and modern, 
that to add anything new seemed almost impossible, and 
yet every day brought something fresh. The usefulness 
and importance of books and of reading was increasing 
day by day, and it was for us to find out the best books 
and how best to make them of use. Still more to-day 
than of yore was the maxim true that 'of making many 
books there is no end' (some 50,000 books now appeared 
annually), and that 'much study is a weariness of the 
flesh.' What we needed was to know how to choose our 
books and so to read that the flesh was not wearied, but 


the spirit refreshed and invigorated, for just as there 
were books which were no books, so there was reading 
which was no reading. To do nothing more than 'dream 
away one's life in others' speculations,' as Charles Lamb 
had it, and to lose oneself in other people's thoughts, was 
little better than day-dreaming and as unprofitable. 
Only as a reward for accomplished labours and as a 
release from depressing thoughts ought such reading to 
be regularly indulged in. For vigorous men and women 
of all ages and of all ranks reading should have a 
different aim, and books should chiefly serve as a stimulus 
to action. For it was by what a man could do in the 
world, rather than by what he knows, that mankind 
progressed, and knowledge that could not be transformed 
into power was nothing less than waste. Let them read, 
therefore, not only that which interested them, but that 
which would give them the means of applying their 
knowledge to some useful end. Read books not merely 
to give you pleasure for the moment, but to make you a 
better man, a worthier citizen, a more useful member of 
society. 'Choose not such books,' it had been well said, 
'as think for you, but such as make you think.' Ruskin 
distinguished between the books of the hour and those 
of all time. Both contained books good and bad. The 
good books of the hour gave us the pleasant or useful 
talk of some person with whom we could not converse. 
Of the bad we need not speak. A true book, however, 
did not, like the telephone, merely serve to convey the 
voice, but served, like a phonograph, to preserve it. The 
real author had something to say which was new and 
true, which no one had said, and which he believed no 
one could say so well as himself Such a man, Ruskin 
added, might write a preface as follows: — 'This is the 
best of me ; for the rest I ate and drank and slept, loved 
and hated like another; my life was as the vapour and 
is not ; but this I saw and knew — tJiis, if anything of mine is 
worth your memory.' 'That,' said Ruskin, 'is his writing, 
it is his inscription or scripture — that is a book! He would 
urge all men and women whose leisure for reading was 
limited to choose the books of all time. They were of every 
kind, easy reading and hard, prose and poetry, entertain- 
ing and abstruse. The whole secret of reading lay in the 
one word selection. To help them in this read Carlyle's 
Choice of Books, or Charles F. Richardson or Frederick 


Harrison on the same subject. Look over the lists of 
the best lOO books made by competent authorities, and 
then write out a Hst for themselves, and keep to some 
definite line of reading. But while pursuing the subject 
to which they decided to devote themselves, let them 
not forget to read some poetry, the art of uniting i)lcasure 
with truth by calling imagination to the help of reason. 
Here might our lads and lasses drink of the well of 
English undefiled, for in poetry our people had truly 
excelled. The cultivation of the imagination, best 
attained by reading poetry, was, as Mr. Goschen had 
said, essential to the highest success in politics, in 
learning, and in the commercial business of life. No one 
was too dull or too prosaic or too much absorbed in the 
routine of practical life to be absolved from the care of 
his imaginative powers, and no one was likely to find 
that this care would not repay him even in a practical 
sense. This certainl}^ held good of scientific pursuits, for 
in these, more perhaps than in any others, intuitive 
instinct or imagination led to the discovery of truth. It 
was in this arousing of the imaginative powers that the 
persistent value of the reading of poetry lay, for 

Though the muse be gone away, 

Though she move not earth to-day, 

Souls, erewhile who caught her word, 

Ah ! still harp on what they heard. 
Such lines of reading as he had indicated would, if 
properly followed out, not only be a constant and abiding 
source of delight and refreshment, but would be the 
means of lifting us above those common, base, and 
injurious amusements, indulgence in which led to certain 
ruin, and which were the temptation of all large towns. 

At the close of his speech. Sir Henry Roscoe filled up 
the requisite form, and, handing it to a young lady 
attendant, was served with the first book from the lending 
department of the library. The title of the book was 
Electricity in the Service of Man. 

Councillor Southern, in proposing a vote of thanks to 
Sir Henry Roscoe, incidentally mentioned that the 
words quoted from John Ruskin were originally spoken 
by Ruskin in a lecture delivered in that hall, and after- 
wards incorporated in Sesame and Lilies. For that 
lecture by Ruskin, and for all the other valuable work 


they had done, the citizens owed a debt of gratitude to 
those who had had the care of that building up to the 
present time He stated that the arrangements of the 
library included a room for boys, and that 459 volumes 
had been set apart for the use of them. There were at 
present 4,000 volumes in the library, and it was intended 
to increase the number to 

The Venerable Archdeacon Anson seconded the 
motion, and in doing so, said that when he called upon 
John Ruskin to arrange about the lecture referred to by 
Mr. Southern, Ruskin asked him what it was that he 
was to lecture about, and in reply to the suggestion that 
he should deal with ' his own subject,' he said, No ; he 
wanted to talk about books and about the value of 
libraries. On being invited to give a title for his lecture 
Ruskin said, ' No ; you must select the title yourself 
He suggested ' What and how to read,' or something 
equally prosaic, and Ruskin said that would do, but he 
afterwards sent his own title, ' King's Treasuries and 
Queen's Gardens.' 

It was in 1854 that the establishment of a Literary 
and Mechanics' Institution for Longsight which was then 
called a " now populous and rapidly increasing village," 
was first seriously attempted. A preliminary meeting was 
held on the loth August in that year, under the presidency 
of the Rev. J. P. Pitcairn, and eventually it was resolved, 
on the 15th December following, to form such an 
institution. Premises were taken, and the opening tea 
party was held on Easter Monday, 9th April, 1855, with 
Mr. Robert Rumney in the chair, and among the 
speakers was Mr. Harry Rawson. The first President 
was Mr. Richard Holt, and the Secretary was Mr. 
Thomas Froggatt, Mr. Rumney being subsequently 
appointed Chairman of Directors. In a short time 
the original quarters proved too small, and at the 
Annual Meeting in January, 1857, a movement was 


begun for the provision of a new building. Eighteen 
months afterwards, on 24th July, 1858, the foundation 
stone of the present building was laid by Mr. Ivie Mackie, 
Mayor of Manchester, who also presided at its formal 
opening on ist March, 1859. The cost amounted to about 
;^2,ooo, over ;^900 of which was raised by a bazaar — the 
rest coming from public subscriptions. 

The Mechanics' Institution was the most important 
educational agency in the district for many years, 
embracing, as it did, library, reading room, elementary 
school, and classes for foreign languages and more 
advanced subjects, and many excellent series of concerts, 
lectures, and high-class entertainments were provided 
during the early part of its history. For some time past, 
however, owing to the provision of increased facilities 
elsewhere, the need for the Institution was no longer felt, 
its use fell off, and ultimately, in December, 1890, the 
Trustees passed this resolution — 

That, having regard to the recent incorporation of 
Gorton in the City of Manchester, it is desirable 
in the interest of the members of the Longsight 
Mechanics' Institution and of the inhabitants 
of the district, that the property and effects of 
the said Institution should be transferred, with 
its liabilities, to the Manchester Corporation, for 
the purposes of a Free Library, or for such other 
public purposes not inconsistent with the original 
objects of the said Institution. 
Negotiations were forthwith opened with the Corpora- 
tion, and after the Institution had been formally dissolved 
at a meeting held on 29th May, 1891, the Public Free 
Libraries Committee entered into possession of the 

The Longsight Branch Free Library, formerly the 
Mechanics' Institution, Stockport Road, was opened by 
Mr. Alexander Ireland, on the afternoon of Saturday, 


July 23, 1892, in the presence of a large audience. The 
Mayor of Manchester (Alderman Bosdin T. Leech) 
presided, and the ladies and gentlemen on the platform 
included the Mayoress, Mr. and Mrs. Alexander Ireland, 
the Misses Ireland, Mr. and Mrs. John Mills, Councillor 
J. W. Southern (Chairman of the Free Libraries Com- 
mittee), Councillor Harry Rawson (Deputy-Chairman), 
Aldermen Dr. Russell, Hugo Shaw, and Abraham Lloyd, 
Councillors Charles Rowley, Reynolds, S. H. Brooks, 
Norris, Hoy, and Uttley ; the Rev. C. P. Roberts (Rector 
of St. John's, Longsight), the Rev. H. Norburn (Rector of 
St. Agnes's, Birch), Messrs. John H. Nodal, Frank 
Hampson, Thomas Ashbury, C.E., W. H. Flinn, G. H. 
Swindells, Richard Gill, John Finlayson, Isaac Gleave, 
F. W. Lean, S. Dewar Lewin, Charles W. Sutton (Chief 
Librarian), W. R. Credland (Deputy Chief Librarian), and 
Lawrence Dillon (Superintendent of branches). 

The Mayor said the Longsight Mechanics' Institution 
dated back to 1854, and it had recently been handed 
over by the trustees to the Manchester Corporation. 
He was pleased that they had on the platform that after- 
noon Councillor Harry Rawson, Deputy Chairman of the 
Free Libraries Committee, who rendered service in the 
establishment of the institution. Mr. Rawson had long 
laboured, and was still labouring, in the cause of free 
libraries. There had been a danger of the librar}' going 
to decay, as had been the case with many large subscrip- 
tion libraries in Manchester, notably the Portico, through 
the falling away of the original supporters, and the 
advantage of the transference here was, he believed, in 
the permanency of the Corporation. The number of 
books taken over by the Corporation was 2,670, but they 
now started with 7,495. The decrease of crime, the 
quickening of intelligence, and the higher tone in amuse- 
ments in the county of Lancaster, he attributed in great 
measure to education. But education was a sword 
which might be used to disadvantage if the people were 
not taught how to apply it, and he believed that libraries 
did a great deal in teaching its use. The libraries of the 


Manchester Corporation were well looked after. No 
books were admitted that were not instructive, moral, 
and of hijrh tone. He congratulated Longsight upon 
having a free library, and he hoped that the young men 
and women of the district would make good use of it. 
They were favoured at the meeting with the presence of 
their old friend, Mr. Alexander Ireland, and they were 
glad to see him so vigorous in his eighty-third year. Mr. 
Ireland, in addition to being a literary man himself, had 
been the friend of Carlyle, Emerson, Froude, Russell 
Lowell, and William and Robert Chambers, and in his 
youth had conversed with Sir Walter Scott, which was 
something to be very proud of 

Mr. Alexander Ireland then delivered his address as 
follows : — 

It is perhaps not altogether inappropriate that the 
Committee should have asked me to deliver the opening 
address on this occasion, for I am the last survivor of the 
original committee which in 185 1 originated the Man- 
chester Free Library, the first of its kind in the United 
Kingdom, its example being followed by Liverpool in 
1853, Birmingham in i860, and by Leeds in 1870. Forty 
years have since elapsed, and there are now, I rejoice to 
tell you, 250 free libraries established and in operation 
throughout the kingdom, containing probably 3^ million 
volumes. It is strange to think that the only one now 
living who assisted at the birth of the first free library 
should this day be taking a prominent part at the 
christening of the 250th bantling of that prolific mother. 
Manchester contains, besides the Reference Library, nine 
lending libraries and reading rooms, and three reading 
rooms apart from libraries. In Salford there are five 
libraries. The number of books used last }-ear in the 
two towns was 1,838,722. We are still far behind the 
United States in the extension of free libraries. In the 
State of Massachusetts alone there were a few years ago 
175 free town libraries. 

Now, try to realise what a benefit it is to a community 
to have a free library in its midst, to have the privilege 
of taking to your home, free of any cost whatever, the 
latest book of travels, or biography, or essays, or fiction, 
or poetry, or philosophy. To those who feel a desire to 


acquire knowledge this is an unmixed blessing. Think 
of the thousands of young men and women scattered 
among our towns, earning their honest livelihood by 
various trades and occupations, some of them of a very 
monotonous and fatiguing character — young persons, 
many of them with tastes and aspirations above their 
hurpble surroundings, naturally wishing to beguile their 
hours of leisure in some way that will be pleasant and 
instructive. Here they have an ever-ready means of 
access to what will conduce to this end, giving them what 
they long for and daily look forward to — gradually 
leading to the formation of improved habits and tastes 
which will abide through life. 

The opening of a free library is an important event in 
the history of any community. It has been truly said 
that however excellent a thing a school and college 
training may be, after all the best and most essential 
part of every man's education is often that which he 
gives himself Now, it is for this kind of self-education 
that the free library provides the opportunity and the 
means — assuming always that the inclination exists, and 
that a certain amount of guidance is available. Who- 
ever facilitates access to books, be he an individual or a 
corporation of individuals, is a permanent benefactor of 
his fellow-men. One of the wisest and most clear- 
sighted of Americans, James Russell Lowell, whom I had 
the privilege of knowing, has said finer and more pithy 
things about books and libraries than any modern author, 
not even excepting such kings in literature as Carlyle, 
Ruskin, and Emerson, and I have somewhere read that 
over the entrance to the famous Alexandrian Library, 
founded 300 years before the Christian era, were inscribed 
these words — ' The nourishment of the soul' Another 
authority says — ' The medicine of the soul.' Nothing 
could have been more significant or appropriate than 
either the one or the other of these inscriptions, and they 
are applicable to all libraries, whether public or private. 

In an address of this kind my hearers might perhaps 
expect that I should lay down some rules of guidance 
to readers. I would hesitate to do this, for their selection 
of books will in most cases be decided by some 
determining consideration or circumstance, or by the 
reader's own mental idiosyncrasy. Some minds care 
most for the positive knowledge afforded by books of 


science, some prefer the excitement and stir and novelty 
met with in books of travel and adventure, others feel 
strengthened by the examples of endurance and 
perseverance, the 'plain living and high thinking,' the 
struggle with difficulties and evil fortunes, and the final 
brave success, as revealed in the most captivating 
biographies. Others take pleasure in following earnest 
inquirers after truth in their examination of creeds and 
beliefs and traditions ; others, again, prefer to follow the 
stately march of history, or to find their chief mental 
sustenance in the most notable works of imagination 
and fiction, whether in prose or verse. After all, one's 
choice must generally be determined by one's own tastes 
and desires. * The best books, it has been said, for a man 
are not always those which the wise recommend, but 
oftener those which meet the peculiar wants, the natural 
thirst of his mind, and which, therefore, awaken interest 
and rivet thought. The great, the essential matter is to 
feel a lively interest in what you read. Wise, sound- 
headed, practical Samuel Johnson said : ' I would not 
advise a rigid adherence to a particular line of study. I 
myself have never persisted in any plan for two days 
together. A man ought to read just as inclination leads 
him, for what he reads as a task will do him little 

A great deal has been written about desultory reading. 
If a man reads in the right spirit, and with a relish for 
what he is reading, that reading may bring more true 
benefit to him than an apparently deeper and more 
serious method of study. 

Deprecatory remarks are frequently heard regarding 
the large proportion of volumes of works of imagination 
and fiction, compared with those of other departments 
of literature, which is found in many of the free libraries. 
Now, a man reads either for entertainment or instruction. 
I would counsel him to mingle both, not allowing enter- 
tainment to absorb too great a portion of his leisure 
hours. But to works of imagination I attach very much 
importance. ' The function of imaginative literature,' 
says John Morley, ' is to awaken the sympathies, to 
quicken the moral sensibilities, and enlarge our moral 
vision.' The sympathies and imagination of those who 
are engaged all day long in dull and often wearisome 
work, and whose surroundings it is not in their power to 


vary, are apt to flag and become languid. To persons 
in this jaded condition of mind nothing is more refreshing, 
after the day's work, than to spend an hour or two in 
reading wholesome works of imagination. The mind 
readily becomes interested in such reading, and is not 
taxed' by it. The humble home or lonely lodging loses 
its dulness and monotony, and its occupant escapes to 
and lives amidst livelier scenes. He becomes detached, 
as it were, from his present surroundings by the bene- 
ficent gift of imagination, and for a time inhabits a 
brighter world than the one he daily lives in. This 
power of detachment, one of the most blessed capacities 
of our nature, gradually but surely exercises its refining 
influence and ministers to our self-dependence. 

Before passing from this topic, let me suggest that the 
supply of works of fiction, while abundant, should exclude 
third-rate and inferior productions, and everything that 
is vicious or trashy. Donations of books considered 
objectionable should be declined as being unsuitable to 
the objects and aims of free libraries; which are to safe- 
guard and strengthen the young against temptation, by 
supplying pure, wholesome, and instructive reading. 

It would add greatly to the usefulness of free libraries 
if judicious lists of books in the different departments of 
literature were drawn up by the librarians, and placed 
within the reach of readers. I should like to see the 
introduction of occasional lectures on the choice of 
books, by competent men. as an adjunct to the free 
library system. 

I should like readers who have a decided taste for 
literature to devote a few hours occasionally to our old 
English writers — such as Bacon, Milton, Jeremy Taylor, 
and Sir Thomas Browne, and their illustrious con- 

Let the reader also become familiar with the best 
works of their successors — with Addison, Defoe, Gray, 
Fielding, Sterne, Goldsmith, Johnson. Cowper, Burke, 
Gibbon, and Robert Burns, and, later on, Coleridge, 
Wordsworth, Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Lamb, Shelle)-, 
Keats, Byron, Hazlitt, and Macaulay. if they prefer 
the writers nearer our own time, or living authors, the}- 
have an abundant choice in Carlyle, Emerson, Lowell, 
Holmes ; in Tennyson, Browning, Ruskin, George Eliot, 
Hawthorne, Mrs. (iaskell, Charlotte Bronttf, Froude, 


Matthew Arnold, Lecky, Herbert Spencer, J. S. Mill, 
Frederick Harrison, and John Morley. 

Besides the treasures of thought embodied in the 
works of these masters of thought, let it be noted how 
they have inaintained the strength and precision, as well 
as the variety, of the English language — in some instances 
reaching a vividness and power not previously attained 
in our literature. It is an education in itself to study 
and compare these various styles in all their diversities — 
each attained and perfected by subtle processes of thought 
and selection, forming the finest outcome of cultivated 

I earnestly hope that this library may be the means 
of ministering to the moral and intellectual needs of 
many thoughtful persons who seek in books something 
higher than amusement or mere passive enjoyment, 
although I freely admit the claims of both amusement 
and passive enjoyment, when the bow requires to be 
relaxed. What I mean by something higher is the 
inspiration and quickening influence of high aims and 
noble and worthy purposes. May the best use of this 
library be to strengthen good resolutions in the young 
in the direction of manfulness and self-help ; may it 
teach the salutary lesson how to enjoy a little thankfiilly 
and hozv to endure much bravely^ leading to a habit of 
mind which has no sympathy with frivolity, irreverence, 
or debasing views of life. May the use of it implant in 
the minds of many a love of literature and science which 
will beautify their daily existence and render it happier 
and more bearable. May it teach the lesson of patience 
and hopeful endeavour under difficulties and hindrances. 
It is not always a disadvantage to have to struggle with 
these. On the contrary, difficulties often prove to be 
a beneficent discipline, since they stimulate endeavour 
and call forth the power to breast and conquer them. 
If this institution in the course of its existence should be 
found helpful to some who have passed middle life or 
arrived at old age, to some to whom ill-health or sorrow 
has brought weary hours, it will always redound to the 
credit and honour of its founders that by its 
aid the monotony of these hours has been lightened 
or their tediousness beguiled. The greatest of medita- 
tive poets, Wordsworth, has said in one of his finest 
sonnets — 


Books, we know, 
Are a substantial world, both pure and good, 
Round these, with tendrils strong as flesh and blood. 
Our pastime and our happiness will grow. 

Assuredly an intimate communion with the minds of the 
wisest and most gifted of our race rarely fails to bring 
with it not only patience and hope wherewith to meet 
the inevitable cares and disappointments of life, but also 
fortitude to bear its worst calamities. 

Councillor Southern moved a vote of thanks to Mr. 
Ireland for his address. He said, as Chairman of the 
Free Libraries Committee, he wished to refer to those 
by whose sagacious liberality this building had become 
the property of the ratepayers of the city. In the 
changes which occurred from year to year there was a 
little danger of forgetting persons who had done pioneer 
work. The meeting had heard from the Mayor some- 
thing of the history of the Longsight Mechanics' Institu- 
tion. He was interested, in looking over the minute 
books, to find that from the early days an endeavour 
was made to popularise the institution by means of occa- 
sional lectures and concerts. A handbill set forth that 
'on November 2, 1855, the next lecture of the course 
will be delivered by Mr. Harry Rawson, the subject being 
" English song and glee writers." ' The free library at 
Longsight was one of a ring of suburban libraries which 
the Corporation hoped to secure for the people. The 
Corporation owed a great deal to the old Newton Heath 
Local Board for the library which had been provided for 
that district, and recently one had been opened in 

Mr. Ireland then declared the library open, and he 
asked the librarian to hand him, as the first borrower, 
' the greatest book in the world — S/iakspcre's Plays, a 
book that will live to the end of the world.' 

The Longsight Branch soon became so exceedingly 
successful, being situated in a populous district where the 
attractions and means of instruction it affords are strongly 
appreciated, that the accommodation originally provided 
was, in 1895, considerably increased. 



Still another generous proposal was made to the 
Corporation about the same time. The Legatees of Sir 
Joseph Whitworth had undertaken the erection at Open- 
shaw of a range of buildings which should include a public 
hall, recreation rooms, and a library and reading room. 
They offered to present to the Corporation land worth 
^2,200 for the site, and i^6,ooo towards the cost of the 
building. Their gifts were gratefully accepted, and the 
building was completed for a total cost of about ;!^ 15,000, 
the cost to the Committee of the library portion being 
about ;^4,ooo. 

Simultaneously with the erection of the Openshaw 
Branch, the committee carried on the building of a branch 
in the newly-incorporated district of Gorton, and of a 
reading room in Chester Road. The first of these new 
institutions completed and opened was the Chester Road 
Reading Room. 

On Saturday afternoon, March 31st, 1894, the new 
reading room was opened by Councillor Harry Rawson, 
Deputy-Chairman of the Committee. The building is 
nearly opposite St. George's Church, Hulme, and consists 
of two stories, the lower one forming a boys' reading 
room, and the upper one a general reading room. In 
connection with these are the usual attendants' rooms, 
heating chamber, and other accommodation. The 
general reading room will comfortably accommodate 
150 adults, and every convenience has been provided 
for the comfort of readers. No effort has been spared 
to make the room as beautiful as possible in the simple 
way rendered necessary by the sum allowed for its 
erection. The shelves allotted for maps and books of 
reference are arranged under a canopy, a feature of the 
interior specially designed by the architect to soften away 


the ugliness caused by a right of h'ght possessed by the 
adjoining landowner. The fittings and furniture are made 
of ash, and the wood has been stained and polished an 
agreeable shade of green. The exterior of the building 
to Chester Road is faced with Ruabon bricks, with the 
windows, doors, parapets, &c., in Doulton ware terracotta. 
The architect, from whose designs and under whose 
superintendence the building has been erected, was 
Mr. J. G. Sankey, M.A., of York Street, Manchester. 

The Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman Marshall, 
presided, and amongst those present were the Lady 
Mayoress, Councillor J. W. Southern (Chairman of the 
Free Libraries Committee), Councillor Rawson, Mr. 
Alexander Ireland, Canon Crane, Aldermen Hoy,Crosfield, 
Gibson, and Lovett Reade, Mr. R. A. Armitage, Mr. J. F. 
Furness, Councillors J. H. Greenhow, J. Norris, W. T. 
Rothvvell, Dr. Daly, T. C. Abbott, J. E. Phythian, H. 
Plummer, W. Simpson, the Rev. G. Cranstone, Mr. J. 
Bingham, Dr. Worswick, Mr. Registrar Smith, and 
Mr. C. W. Sutton (Chief Librarian). 

Mr. Southern, at the commencement of the proceed- 
ings, said that that readingroom was the thirteenth 
branch of the Free Library. It embraced two depart- 
ments. One was a reading room for adults, supplied 
with a careful selection of the best newspapers and 
magazines, and about 350 volumes of books for reference 
in the room, but not for lending out. There were 21 
daily newspapers (without counting duplicates), 35 
weekly journals, and 22 monthly magazines. The other 
department was the boys' reading room, in which 
between 300 and 400 volumes suitable for juvenile 
readers were placed at the disposal of such members of 
the rising generation as cared to come. There were also 
about a dozen magazines taken in for their use. The 
general reading room would be open every week day 
from 8-30 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on Sundays from 2 to 9 
p.m. The boys' room would be open from six to nine 
each evening, including Sunday. 


The Lord Mayor then said it must be a matter of 
congratulation to all true and loyal citizens that such 
privileges were to be afforded by that reading room to 
the citizens in that district. It was also a matter for 
congratulation that the Corporation were always disposed 
and anxious to liberally dispense the powers committed 
to them by Parliament for the benefit of the citizens 
generally. Education was one of the great features of 
the present day, and they all recognised that the more 
information the citizens possessed, both of outside 
matters and of matters that more particularly appertained 
to this great city, the better. The city had been immensely 
improved in the last generation in every respect, and in 
no way more than in the matter of education. He 
believed that the more the citizens knew of the affairs 
of the city and of the administration of the municipal 
government of the city the more contented they would 
be, and the more loyal citizens they would become. 
Great benefits had been derived from the establishment 
of the free libraries which now, thanks to the energy of 
the Committee, existed in every district of the city. 
The Committee were always ready to conform to the 
desires of the citizens, and thereby to contribute as far 
as possible not only to their intellectual welfare, but to 
their social benefit and comfort. There could be no 
question that the establishment of free libraries had 
contributed immensely not only to the education of the 
people, but to the diminution of those erratic proceedings 
which used to prevail in the public streets when the 
young men and women and the boys and girls had 
nowhere else to resort to in an evening to spend their 
leisure hours with comfort, with pleasure, and with profit. 
They went now into the various free libraries and reading 
rooms, and those who lived in that district would now 
have an opportunity of enjoying in that beautiful room 
the privileges to which he had alluded, and which would 
certainly tend to improve their social and moral condition, 
and enable them to grow up to be true and loyal citizens. 

Mr. Rawson in declaring the room open, said their 
purpose that afternoon was to dedicate the Chester Road 
Branch of the Public Free Library to the perpetual use 
of the ratepayers. They hoped it might prove a 
centre of intellectual light, a source of ameliorating 


influences, moral and social, especially to the neighbour- 
hood in which it was placed. It was the most recent, 
but happily would be by no means the last, product of 
the activities of the Free Libraries Committee, and of 
their earnest desire to extract from the limited resources 
at their command the utmost available benefit for their 
fellow-citizens at large. But there was yet ample field 
of usefulness awaiting the care and cultivation of the 
Free Libraries Committee. Part of it would shortly be 
occupied at Gorton, where new premises were nearly 
completed, and part in Openshaw, where, aided with 
generous donations of land and money by the Legatees 
of the late Sir Joseph Whitworth, a spacious building 
would be opened. The township of Blackley had for 
some time pressed its claims for the advantages enjoyed 
by other districts. Again, the Reference Library urgently 
demanded additional accommodation. Its capacity was 
stretched to the uttermost, and many hundreds of its 
100,000 volumes were hidden away in remote and 
unsuitable places. Behind it was a plot of land, the 
property of the Committee, which had been vacant for 
many years, an eyesore and an offence in one of 
the greatest and most central of our thoroughfares. 
It ought immediately to be utilised, and plans had 
long been under consideration. But this crying 
need and the other requirements he had mentioned 
could not at present be met from the lack of adequate 
pecuniary means. He thought it a reasonable ambition 
to place a news and reading room at any rate in every 
ward of the city — save in the few which were mainly 
occupied by business premises, and had therefore but a 
sparse residential population. To him it had ever been 
an insoluble mystery that the Free Libraries Committee 
should be singled out for restrictions on its income from 
which every other department of Corporation activity 
was exempt. He could not but regard it as the product 
of a prejudice that was unworthy, and of a distrust which 
experience had demonstrated to be undeserved. The 
educational value of their work, and the careful, exem- 
plary, and most laudable manner in which the books 
were used by the people, demanded a grateful appreci- 
ation. Did they not deserve an extension of facilities 
who, as in the case of their own fellow-citizens, returned 
from their homes undamaged and safe more than three- 


quarters of a million volumes per annum ? And surely it 
was obvious that the different School Boards would every 
year create a fresh harvest of borrowers, especially if they 
would refrain from scattering the attention of their pupils 
over too wide a curriculum, and would give them such a 
mastery over the elements of learning as would render 
reading easy and delightful. This argument for increased 
resources might be extended with equal propriety to the 
probable results of technical and of continuation schools. 
All would tend to multiply the duties and enlarge the 
responsibilities of Free Library Committees in Man- 
chester and elsewhere, as would also every thousand of 
increase in the population. Why, then, should pecuniary 
fetters be allowed longer to restrict and starve the 
development of institutions which had already done so 
much, and were admittedly capable of a yet larger 
extension, in the diffusion of knowledge and the pro- 
motion of culture and refinement. The principle he 
contended for was that Library Committees should be 
treated with the same confidence as to the economical 
expenditure of their means as was accorded to every 
other committee of the Corporation. ' I conclude,' he 
said, ' v/ith the expression of an earnest hope for a long 
career of usefulness and success to the Chester Road 
Public Reading Room, which I have now the pleasure 
to declare open.' 

Canon Crane, in proposing a vote of thanks to Mr. 
Rawson, said he thought that was one of the brightest 
days he had seen for the last twenty-three years. When 
he first came to that parish he found that there was 
nothing whatever to amuse or to engage the attention of 
the people of the parish. If the people of such parishes 
as St. George's were compelled by the force of circum- 
stances to reside in houses that he called kennels, and 
into which he would not put a dog that he loved, it was 
absolutely imperative that they should have some place 
where they could be free from an atmosphere which was 
enough to poison any moral or social feeling. He there- 
fore congratulated the people of that parish and that 
part of Hulme on the acquisition, by the liberality, the 
thoug'ht, and the care of the Free Libraries Committee, 
of that room. No one would be able to pass along 
Chester Road now without seeinir the strone contrast 


between \\\^e. facade of that beautiful building and some 
of the hovels which were still to be seen on the front of 
the road, and he only prayed that a time would come 
when those houses also would be improved out of the 

Mr. T. Parkinson seconded the resolution, which was 

The next building ready for dedication to the public 
service was the Gorton Branch. In the presence of a 
large number of interested spectators, the new library 
was opened on Saturday afternoon. May 5th, 1894,. by 
Dr. A. W. Ward, the distinguished Principal of Owens 
College. The new building is situated at the junction of 
Gorton Lane and Belle Vue Street, West Gorton. The 
shape of the site suggested an octagonal plan for a portion - 
of the building, and this has been adopted, the section at 
the union of the two streets being an octagon measuring 
29ft. 6in. in diameter, communicating by wide arched 
openings with two wings, each 21ft. wide, facing the 
streets, the portion between them forming an open area for 
light. The ground floor is kept up 6ft. above the street 
Uevel in order to give good light to the basement 
ifloor, in which is a boys' reading room, book store, 
^nd heating apparatus. The entrance to the building 
IS in Belle Vue Street, and a wide staircase leads 
up to the first floor and down to the basement, the stair- 
case hall having an octagonal end, with large windows 
lighted from the area. To the left of the entrance on the 
ground floor is the library, which, with the rooms for the 
attendants, occupies the whole of that story. The library 
is fitted with bookcases, counter for borrowers, catalogue 
desk, &c., all constructed of pitch pine, stained and var- 
nished. It is well liehted with larsje windows on all sides. 


The first floor is entirely occupied by the reading room, 
and is fitted up with newspaper racks and reading tables, 
and a small bookcase for reference books. It is a lofty 
room, ceiled half way up to the roof, and lighted by 
windows on all sides, skylights over the wings, and a 
lantern light over the octagon. Special attention has been 
given to the artificial lighting and ventilation throughout. 
A number of ventilation flues have been carried up in the 
walls, and into these are passed the tubes from the venti- 
lating sunlights. For the inlet of fresh air, hopper 
casements are fixed in many parts of the building. The 
warming of the building is accomplished with hot water in 
pipes and radiators. The elevations are faced with grey 
bricks, with red terra cotta in windows, door, cornice, and 
string courses. A feature has been made of the octagonal, 
which is covered by a nipped roof, and this is crowned by 
a square clock turret, the total height from street level to 
top of the iron vane being about 8ift. The clock, which 
has four illuminated dials, each 4ft. 6in. diameter, is a 
prominent feature in the neighbourhood. The cost of the 
building and fittings has been about ^4,100, and the 
whole of the work has been carried out from the designs 
and under the superintendence of Messrs. J. W. and R. F. 
Beaumont, architects, Manchester. The library is fur- 
nishedTvith 4,616 volumes, and, though they do not form 
a large collection, care has been taken to make it fairly 
representative of the best modern popular literature. 
There are, in addition, 432 volumes set apart for boys in 
the reading room devoted specially to their use ; and in 
the general reading room there is a bookcase containing 130 
volumes of encyclopaedias, dictionaries, and other books of 
reference. This room is also furnished with an ample 
supply of the most popular magazines and newspapers of 
the day. 


Councillor J. W. Southern (Chairman of the Libraries 
Committee) presided ; and on the platform were Dr. A. 
W. Ward, Councillor Harry Rawson (Deputy-Chairman 
of the Libraries Committee), Aldermen Crosfield, Leech, 
Hoy, and Higginbottom, Councillors W. H. Wainwright, 
C. Jennison, J. Phythian, Uttley, Rothwell, Norris, Mr. 
Alexander Ireland, and Mr. Charles W. Sutton (Chief 
Librarian). Amongst those in the audience were Rev. F. 
Cuthbert, Mr. C. H. Bullock, Mr. J. Finlayson, Rev. F. 
Francis, Mr. Henry Caddick, Mr. William Macbeth, Mr. 
W. H. Beastow, Mr. W. H. Chadwick, Mr. W. F. Broadhead, 
Mr. Eli Rowcroft, and others. 

The Chairman said they had met to inaugurate the 
establishment of the free library for the Gorton Ward. 
It was one of the consequences of the amalgamation of 
a portion of Gorton with the City of Manchester. When 
the representatives of the Gorton district came to 
negotiate with the members of the Council as to 
amalgamation they proved themselves keen business 
men, and they wanted to know what would be the 
advantages they would gain by entering the city. They 
set forth their requirements, and among the rest they 
specified that there should be provided for the people of 
the district a free library. The representatives of the 
city were ready and willing to give the promise, and that 
day they had come there to witness its fulfilment. The 
site had been selected by and with the advice and 
consent of the representatives of the ward. They had 
looked well over the district, various places were 
suggested, and the site which in their judgment was the 
best had been chosen. Standing as the library did at 
that point where so many ways converged, he thought it 
a very convenient and central position. That was not 
the first free library they had had in Gorton. It was an 
interesting fact to know that more than 240 years ago 
the good Humphrey Chetham, who founded the Chetham 
Hospital in Manchester, left a sum of £30 with which 
to provide a library of godly and sound books for 
Gorton. There seemed to be some fear that the people 
might get away with the books, and so he ordered that 


the books should be chained to a desk. Whether it was 
that there was a great improvement in public morals in 
these days, or whether it was that it was a mistaken 
notion then, he did not know, but it was a fact that last 
year there were 1,400,000 books issued from the Man- 
chester Free Libraries, and he was within the literal 
truth when he said that there were not purloined books 
to the value of ^^5. That was a testimony to the 
honesty and care of the people of Manchester, that when 
a good thing was provided for their use they knew how 
to use and not to abuse it. He hoped their new library 
would prove to be a valuable, useful, and appreciated 
public institution. 

Dr. Ward, in declaring the library open, said he highly 
appreciated the compliment they paid him in inviting 
him to open the new free library in Gorton. It was said 
that this was to be known as Manchester's wonderful 
year or year of wonders, and certainly no part of their 
community had or would have better reason or better 
. right to share in the elation which the great engineering 
triumphs consummated in this year had produced in 
them all than that district of Gorton and its neighbour- 
hood. It was the more gratifying to think that in this 
wonderful year Gorton's share in the benefits, the advan- 
tages, and the nobler pleasures of their common life in 
that city was likewise being extended and increased ; 
nor was it merely because the occupations and enjoy- 
ments of his own life had been so largely concerned with 
books that he cordially congratulated them on attaining 
to the possession of a branch free library of their own. . 
They might well feel proud of the expansion of the free 
library system in Manchester, since more than forty 
years'ago the Manchester public free library was opened 
at Campfield ; proud of the influence which Manchester 
public spirit had exercised both upon the legislation 
which had developed that expansion under the condi- 
tions, not of a benevolent institution, but of an organised 
department of civic activity ; proud, too, of the devoted 
and efficient administration of that department by the 
committee which had conducted it, and by the officers 
whose trained skill and applied scholarship had made 
the Manchester Free Library and its branches the 
admiration, if not the envy, of other great English towns. 


Manchester had many libraries of varied value and 
importance, and would before long, as they knew, have 
more. There was not a scholar in this part of the country 
but cherished towards the Chetham Library that kind of 
reverent affection which historical, local, and personal 
associations continued to evoke. Soon the splendour of 
the unrivalled collection which the munificence of Mrs. 
Rylands had acquired would burst upon their dazzled 
eyes ; and it might interest them to know that Lord 
Spencer, the former owner of those unique treasures, 
generously wrote to him that, as they must leave Althorp, 
there was no place where he would rather they should 
find another home than in Manchester. Their students' 
library at Owens College, after being enlarged by many 
generous benefactors, was recently presented with a most 
valuable historical collection by the Legatees of their late 
neighbour, Sir Joseph Whitworth. That librar}- was 
soon to be housed in an appropriate building at the 
personal cost of their generous friend — himself a book 
lover of the real sort — Mr. R. Copley Christie. All 
those and other libraries Manchester commanded, or 
would command,for theuse of different classes of students 
and readers ; but the free public library and its branches 
would remain pre-eminent, like the agora of a great and 
free city, to meet and serve the general public need, 
which in particular directions those other collections 
would, he trusted, under fitting regulations with the same 
freedom supplement. A good time, therefore, was 
coming, nay, had already come, for readers in Man- 
chester ; but a time which, like other good times would, 
unless its harvest were to droop and wither away, need 
forethought and — if he might venture on the suggestion 
— co-operation and co-ordination : things which were, 
no doubt, more easily talked of than accomplished, but 
which it was culpable folly to ignore in view of the 
ever-growing possibilities and opportunities of the future. 
Let them preserve their libraries and enlarge their stores, 
and while continually developing what was so excellent 
in their present administration and management, not 
overlook their relations to one another, and, should it 
prove possible, continue in devising means which might 
render still more beneficially wide their use by every 
section of that vast and thriving, and not altogether 
unthoughtful community. He would not warn them 



against certain common abuses of reading since for 
the most part they were of a kind unlikely to be 
committed in that place, where there was, we had a 
right to assume so earnest and genuine a desire of 
turning to good account the great and bounteous 
blessing — for he held it nothing less — which was to be 
placed at their disposal. As well, he said, might I warn 
you against reading not books, but the backs of books — 
an odd tendency which was thus described hy a satirist 
of the beginning of the sixteenth century, and which it 
is a comfort to think is now nearly four centuries out of 
date : — 

Lo ! in lyke wyse of bokys I have store, 
But fewe I rede, and fewer understande ; 
I folowe not theyr doctryne nor theyr lore ; 
It is ynough to here a boke in hande ; 
It were to moche to be it such a bande 
For to be bounde to loke within the boke ; 
I am content on the fayre coverynge to loke. 

Why sholde I stody to hurt my wyt thereby ? 
Or trouble my mynd with stody excessive, 
Sythe many ar which e stody right besely, 
And yet thereby shall they never thryve \ 
The fruyte of Wysdom can they not contryve, 
And many to stody so moche are inclynde, 
That utterly they fall out of theyr mynde. 

We, in a public and popular library, designed for public 
and popular use and enjoyment, are not much hurt by 
taunts which may have had their point in times when 
books were either choice treasures or costly toys ; and, 
if you please, 1 will conclude by imagining — and this 
without very much stretch or difficulty — a type of reader. 
I will call him — or her the happy reader, as a great poet 
called a human being who seeks to fulfil the best pur- 
poses of his humanity the ' happy warrior ' — 

That every man in arms would wish to be. 

We will not over-credit this happy reader; let him be, 
for argument's sake, a youth engaged, as would accord 
with the chief industry of this district, in the arduous 


task of gaining skill and experience in a complicated 
and laborious mechanical craft; or let her be a woman 
who seeks a refuge from the more circumscribed range 
and pettier sphere of daily work and daily cares which 
are women's ordinary lot in the larger world of art to 
which in her turn she brings quicker and more catholic 
sympathies; or let him be, what most readers are, not 
quite so young as they were yesterday, and trusting to 
books, as others trust to less comprehensive forms of 
art than literature, or to nature, of which all art is but 
a reproduction which masters achieve and everybody 
else bungles ; trusting to books I say, for the few 
moments of refreshment and relief we allow ourselves to 
snatch in our weekly whirl. Well, I say we will not 
credit this happy reader with more qualities than he or 
she can be expected to bear : but we will credit him 
with what is necessary in order that he should be a 
happy reader and deserve his chances. He is then 
possessed of three things needful ; and of these the first 
is enthusiasm, or, in other words, an eagerness to learn, 
and a prompt mind and grateful heart, towards all 
opportunities of learning. He may not know, and yet 
it is very true, that the least confined of sciences and the 
most ethereal of arts are precisely those that admit no 
half-hearted pilgrims,- no desultory visitors on an 
unoccupied evening, into their sanctuary. Coyest of all 
are the proudest of the sciences, those which are 
concerned with the eternal principles of things, physics, 
mathematics, and the mental science which speaks in 
oracles, and often in oracles of verse. Again, our happy 
reader is possessed of discernment, and with it of that 
self-knowledge which teaches where to proceed and where 
to refrain. In his choice of books, as in his choice of all 
those conditions and circumstances of his life which are 
under his control (and these are not excessively 
numerous for most of us), he allows something for the 
bent of his nature, something for the number of his talents, 
and something for the preparation or equipment which 
fortune has enabled him to command or acquire. Thus 
he prepares his ground, and is able to read for a higher 
purpose than that of absorbing some particular bit of 
information or mastering some particular method of 
action, and for a more enduring result than that of 
making a better show in the examination room, the 


committee room, the club room, the drawing room, or in 
whatever room or company you please. He shapes his 
reading and thereby shapes himself, as all of us may do 
who desire not to play a part, but to fill a place in society 
— or, in other words, to do their duty in the world where 
we have our common being and in which we must, more 
or less, affect one another either for good or for evil. 
Thirdly, and. lastly, we must credit our happy reader 
with patience. Patience is the crown of human virtues, 
and humility is its divine exemplar. Nor is its reward 
ever far off Our reader finds it, as they say, between 
the covers of any volume in his library. He need not 
waste his time, as some superfine noses among his 
contemporaries do, in searching for pearls in dung heaps ; 
for he is aware that the purpose of reading is, no more 
than the purpose of life, to hit once in a decade upon a 
discovery missed by everybody else. But he takes the 
good as it is provided, and casts aside the evil when he 
sees, or even when he scents it from afar ; and he presses 
on, neither without acknowledgment of what he uses nor 
without compunction as to what he leaves aside, but 
with a belief, nay a certainty, that for steady and 
unselfish endeavour the road is rarely narrowed, and 
never closed. And he sees his beacons shining along 
the way to encourage his progress — the great writers 
whose light never goes out, the friends of many a 
generation that has preceded our reader and many 
that will follow after him — the great men of science 
and letters, and the poets through whom heaven 
speaks by an inspiration denied to you and me. 

The Chairman requested Dr. Ward to select the first 
book out of the new lending library. Dr. Ward was 
furnished with a catalogue, and then said he would take 
his favourite book of his favourite author, Sir Walter 
Scott's Heart of Midlothian. He had read it once or 
twice, but he would read it again. 

Alderman B. T. Leech moved a vote of thanks to 
Professor Ward. They in Gorton, he said, had got an 
excellent library — one that did credit to the district and 
to the architect who designed it. He trusted they would 
make good use of it, and that it would be a bridge 
between many of the young people there and the college 
of which Professor Ward was the distineuished head. 


In the:3e days they had great advantages in the shape of 
board schools, art schools, technical schools, and so on, 
by which a lad might make his way in the country. 

Alderman Higginbottom seconded the resolution 
which was carried amid great enthusiasm. 

The fine range of municipal buildings erected in 
Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, on a site adjoining the 
Whitworth Baths, and provided jointly by the Manchester 
Corporation and the Legatees of the late Sir Joseph 
Whitworth, were opened on Saturday afternoon, July 7th, 
1894, by Mr. R. C. Christie, M.A., one of the Legatees, 
and late Chancellor of the Diocese of Manchester. In the 
buildings there is provided a library containing space for 
20,000 volumes, a public hall, a technical school, and what 
fs a departure in municipal buildings, a coffee tavern and 
chess and billiard rooms. The total cost, including the 
site, was about iS^ 15,000, and towards this the Whitworth 
Legatees contributed ;!^8,50o. A procession was formed 
of the Committee in the Reception Hall, and they pro- 
ceeded to the main entrance, where a gold key was 
presented to Mr. R. C. Christie, who formally opened the 
door. A meeting was then held in the Public Hall, which 
was well filled with an interested audience. The Lord 
Mayor (Sir Anthony Marshall) presided. There were 
also present Mr. Christie and Mr. R. D. Darbishire 
(Legatees of Sir Joseph Whitworth), Councillor Southern 
(Chairman of the Libraries Committee), Alderman Hoy 
(Chairman of the Technical Instruction Committee), 
Alderman Crosfield, and Councillors James Robinson, 
James Saxon, and David Taylor (representatives of Open- 
shaw Ward), and other members of the Corporation ; 
Mr. C. W. Sutton (Chief Librarian), Rev. J. P. Airey, M.A. ; 
Rev. Robert Sutton, Rev. W. H. Cory Harris, Rev. Samuel 



Taylor, Mr. J. W. Beaumont, Mr. James Brierley, J. P. ; 
Mr. William Charlton, J. P. ; Mr. Stanhope Perkins, Mr. 
J. P. Sharp, Mr. Arthur Painter, Mr. John Jee, Dr. Bailey, 
Mr. Alfred Stansfield, Mr. James Pollitt, Mr. J. W. 
Wheeler (representin^r Messrs. Neill, the contractors), Mr. 
Alfred Saxon, Mr. H. B. Brown, Mr. J. Finlayson, and 

The Lord Mayor said he felt highly honoured at 
having been invited to preside at the meeting that after- 
noon.' The occasion was one of which they might all 
feel proud, and they might all rejoice in the great and 
noble effort that had been made in erecting such a 
magnificent pile of buildings for the use of the citizens 
of the district. The Corporation, it would be admitted, 
had not been slow in using to the full the privileges that 
were given to them under the Free Libraries Act. They 
had done so because they felt that free libraries were a 
necessity if the people were to have the best means of 
recreation and amusement at their command, and the 
best means, too, of inspiring them to press forward in the 
march of social progress. A free library and reading- 
room had been established in every district of the city. 
The one at Openshaw was the most comprehensive of 
all, and for this they had to thank the munificence of the 
Legatees of Sir Joseph Whitworth. The institution 
was a new departure, and on that account its future 
would be watched with great interest in Manchester. 
It comprised not only a free library and reading rooms, 
but also a large public hall, magnificent baths, and 
billiard, smoking, and refreshment rooms. The additions 
had been provided by the Whitworth Legatees, and this 
and their other gifts to the city had laid the citizens 
under a deep obligation. 

Mr. R. C. Christie declared the building open. He 
said, by the favour of the chairman and members of the 
Libraries Committee of the Corporation of Manchester 
the very honourable and pleasant duty was committed to 
him of opening the Municipal Buildings of Openshaw, 
and addressing those citizens of Manchester w^ho were 
residents in the township, and might be expected to use 
and feel interest in them and in the several departments 


of mental culture, social intercourse, and pleasure which 
were united in the purpose and aim of the buildings 
themselves. It was now five years since he had the 
pleasure of addressing a public meeting of the in- 
habitants of Openshaw, not then, but in a few weeks 
afterwards to become citizens of Manchester. He then 
had the privilege of presenting to them on behalf of the 
Legatees of Sir Joseph Whitworth the public baths 
which they had built out of moneys coming to them 
from his estate, as a memorial of him, and of his 
constant wish to benefit his fellow men and pro- 
mote their welfare in every way. He then shadowed forth 
some hopes that in some future time some other 
institution might follow with, at least in part, more 
directly intellectual aims. When the township of 
Openshaw became incorporated with the City of 
Manchester they felt certain that the City Council, 
which had taken so prominent and so enlightened a part 
in promoting the free library movement, would recognise 
the claims of the township to a free library to be 
provided at the expense of the ratepayers of the city, 
and they accordingly approached the Libraries Com- 
mittee with a proposal that the Legatees would give a 
site and that a building should be erected at their joint 
cost, the building to include not only a library, public 
hall, and class rooms for technical and other instruction, 
but also a coffee tavern and billiard room, with a view of 
providing means of social intercourse, amusement, and 
refreshment, not accompanied by intoxicating drinks — 
in fact to provide a place of innocent recreation and of 
social intercourse that might prove a useful rival to the 
public-house. Now he was not about to say a word 
against a well-conducted public-house, nor was this the 
time or the place to discuss the evils or the advantages 
of the liquor traffic. But this he might say, and he 
thought without fear of contradiction or of giving offence 
to any, that there ought to be places where good and 
non-intoxicating refreshments might be had, where 
billiards and other games might be played, and where 
people might meet for social intercourse without being 
expected to drink intoxicating liquor whether they 
wanted it or not, and in places where there was at least 
a temptation, and in many cases a strong temptation, to 
drink more than is good for them. He would like to 


express his gratitude to the Libraries Committee for the 
friendly and cordial manner in which they received the 
proposal of the Legatees. It was in some sort a new 
departure, and must be taken to be to some extent an 
experiment. The Libraries Committee could not itself 
carry on the coffee tavern, nor could the rates be applied 
either for its erection or maintenance. But as the 
Legatees offered to bear much more than the cost of 
that part of the buildings, the Libraries Committee 
expressed their willingness to meet their wishes, to join 
them in the erection of the buildings, and to make the 
necessary arrangements for the carrying on of the coffee 
tavern by their tenant. What the Legatees had done 
had been done in the name of Sir Joseph Whitworth, 
and with the funds entrusted to them by him, and in 
furtherance of what they believed would have been his 
wishes and his aims. He had to express LadyWhitworth's 
great regret — a regret in which he was sure all would 
join — that she was not able to be present. As he had said, 
this was a new departure. It was an experiment which 
he very earnestly hoped would be successful, because it 
was of the greatest importance to provide places of 
amusement free from the temptations of the public-house. 
In giving the site and providing their share of the cost 
of the buildings, the Legatees made no formal stipulations. 
If the coffee tavern, the billiard room, and the play- 
rooms were popular, and were found to supply a want, 
they had full confidence in the City Council that they 
would continue to exist under their supervision. If, on 
the contrary, their hopes and anticipations should not be 
fulfilled, they left to the Council full freedom to use the 
buildings for such purposes as they might think would 
most conduce to the welfare and to the enjoyment of the 
inhabitants of Openshaw. He had heard only one 
objection urged against the coffee tavern and the billiard 
room, and that was that they were too grand, too luxu- 
rious, and that working men would be afraid to use 
them. He hoped this would not be the case. They were 
specially provided for the use of the working men and 
boys of Openshaw, and the working men must remember 
that the building was their property, and that they could 
not better please those who had provided it than by 
making use of it, and showing that they claimed it as 
their own. Having said these few words on what he 


might term the lighter aspects of the building he would 
turn to those which Avere its main purposes, its serious 
aims. In this public hall they had a place suitable for 
meetings of every kind, whether grave or gay. In the class- 
rooms there would be carried on, under the powers now 
vested in the Corporation, classes for technical instruction, 
which could not fail to be of the greatest advantage to 
the young people who availed themselves of them. . But 
besides all this, they now had — and it was this he hoped 
and believed that they were looking forward to with the 
greatest eagerness, with the most pleasant anticipation — 
a free public library, a library which would place within 
the reach of everyone, however humble his position, 
treasures of thought, treasures of knowledge, treasures of 
imagination, which fifty years since only the very wealthy 
could obtain. Here the whole range of English litera- 
ture was placed within their reach. They had access 
to ' the fairy tales of science and the long results of 
time' on which to nourish their minds. He would 
not trouble them with a history of the free library 
movement, nor of the honourable part, which Manchester 
had taken in it. But he might at least say that they all 
felt proud, as citizens of Manchester, of the fact that 
Manchester was one of the first places to avail itself of 
Mr. Ewart's Act, and there was no part of the adminis- 
tration of the City Council upon which they could look 
with more satisfaction than that under the jurisdiction 
of the Public Libraries Committee. Formerly — and that 
not so very long since — it was considered that trade and 
commerce, and still more those mechanical occupations 
to which they in Openshaw were specially devoted, were 
incompatible with a love of literature and a knowledge 
of books. But happily we had outgrown that narrow 
view, and we now recognised the fact that the more our 
time and thought were absorbed in the practical work of 
our daily occupation, the more desirable was it that in 
our leisure hours our minds should expand to wider and 
higher subjects. But books were innumerable, our hours 
lor reading them were few ; and the question presented 
itself, How were we to use these few hours and these 
innumerable books to the most pleasure and the most 
profit? It was astonishing how little care many people 
seemed to take in their choice of books. They would 
take any book they chanced to find — often attracted, as 

/ \- 



librarians would testify, by the title, sometimes even by 
the binding. Probably most of the Openshavv readers 
would be satisfied with our native English literature, 
which formed, and rightly formed, the great bulk of the 
books of this library, and which included, we might say 
with just pride, some of the greatest poets, historians, 
and philosophers that the world had seen. There were, 
indeed, many points in which the literature of England 
was inferior to that of other nations. It was character- 
ised neither by the polished and pointed elegance of the 
French, nor the severe and detailed accuracy and 
thoroughness of the German. But the whole civilised 
world admitted that among the greatest poets of the 
world Shakspere and Milton took equal rank with 
Homer, with yEschylus, with Dante ; that among 
philosophers Bacon and Newton were second to none, 
either of the ancients or the moderns ; that though 
in history we were beginning to feel that the adventures 
and the vices of kings and queens, the dates of battles 
and wars were less important than the condition of the 
people, the progress of civilization, of art, of philosophy, 
of commerce, that Gibbon's History of the Decline and 
Fall of the Roman Empire was incomparable in accuracy, 
thoroughness, lucidity, and comprehensive grasp of a 
vast and important subject. Lastly, in prose fiction we 
possessed the acknowledged master of all — Sir Walter 
Scott. There was no branch of literature that was 
capable of affording more pleasure and more interest, 
even to the desultory reader who only wished to pass his 
leisure hours pleasantly, than history, and the history of 
England was second to none for dramatic incident and 
for narrative interest, while to us it ought to be of the 
most absorbing interest, as it was certainly of the very 
highest importance. The extension of the franchise, by 
which the decision of all important political questions 
was now vested in the bulk of the people, rendered it 
more than ever necessary that every elector should 
possess a knowledge of past history. Every man had 
now a voice in the settlement of national questions. But 
how could anyone decide what reforms were needed, 
what new measures were expedient, who knew nothing 
of the experience of the past, of the circumstances in 
which our constitution, our laws, our customs, our civil 
and religious institutions have grown up during the past 



one thousand years ? But while we read history with a 
view of profiting from the lessons of experience, we must 
not too hastily infer similar results from apparently 
similar causes, and we must remember with certainty 
that no past states or society could ever be renewed. 
The mere fact of an event or a state of society having 
existed was a guarantee that it would never exist again. 
In the statistics which our free libraries gave us every 
year, and which were so valuable and interesting, varied 
as they were in the books read in different districts 
among different classes of readers, they all agreed in this, 
that in the lending libraries the issue of prose fiction was 
enormously in excess of that of any other class of 
literature. He was himself, and had been for consider- 
ably more than half a century, a great reader of novels. 
He had derived much pleasure and, he hoped, some 
profit from them, and he had no wish to see others 
debarred from a like pleasure and profit. But he was 
bound to say that when he looked at the returns from 
the free libraries he could not but feel that there was 
some truth in recent strictures, that injury was done to 
good literature by the inordinate predominance of fiction 
in free libraries, and that they would do well to curtail 
the supply of modern novels. He now declared these 
municipal buildings open, and concluded by expressing 
the wish of all who aided in their erection that they 
might long continue to be a centre of municipal life, of 
intellectual culture, and of social enjoyment. 

Councillor Southern, Chairman of the Libraries Com- 
mittee, said that was an auspicious day for the township 
of Openshaw. Certainly it was a day of great satisfaction 
and of deep pleasure to the Free Libraries Committee 
that the work they had had in hand there for so long a 
period had been brought to so successful a completion. 
They had special cause for satisfaction in having had 
Mr. Christie with them to open those buildings, not 
merely because he was one of the Legatees who had made 
their erection possible by their pecuniary benefaction, 
but because his was a name which was known as that of 
a man who was identified with knowledge and instruc- 
tion. His object in rising was to ask them to adopt the 
following resolution of thanks : — 

That this meeting tenders its most cordial thanks to 


Mr. Christie for the inaugural address which he 
has delivered at the opening of the Openshaw 
Free Library, Public Hall, and Technical School, 
and expresses its grateful recognition of the muni- 
ficence and public spirit of the Legatees of Sir 
Joseph Whitworth in aiding by their generous 
gift of ;^8,500 in the provision of this splendid 
range of buildings. 
The land and buildings had cost about i^ 15,000, and 
towards this the Whitworth Legatees had given in cash 
i"6,500 and the site, which was valued at ^2,000. The 
Town Hall Committee had given ^1,500 towards the 
new hall and they had received a similar amount from 
the Technical Instruction Committee. The new library 
opened with 4,700 volumes, and as they found the books 
were used, and well used, they would increase the number 
of volumes. They had in that magnificent hall in which 
they were assembled a meeting room which would 
accommodate 700 persons. Taking the range of buildings 
altogether, he thought he might say they were such as 
would be especially satisfactory to the township of Open- 
shaw. He only wished that every ward in the city was 
as well accommodated. 

Alderman Hoy, Chairman of the Technical Instruction 
Committee, in seconding the vote, reminded his audience 
that the gifts which the Whitworth Legatees had made 
in connection with those buildings were not the only 
gifts they had made to the City of Manchester, of which 
the township of Openshaw was now one of the compon ent 
parts. He could not help feeling that day that the 
erection of that fine suite of buildings was an act which 
might perhaps commend itself to other representatives 
of great commercial and industrial undertakings in 
various parts of the city as an example of what might 
be done in other working-class districts by those who 
themselves had been largely assisted in the accumulation 
of their resources by the community in which their lot 
had been cast. Some of them would know that there 
had been technical classes held in Openshaw for a 
number of years. The classes had been under the 
charge of the Technical Instruction Committee, but they 
had been carried on under very depressing circumstances. 
They proposed to extend the classes which had been in 


existence at Openshavv, and which had a direct and 
distinct bearing upon the industry in which the great 
bulk of the people were employed — they proposed to 
add to the drawing classes and the classes for applied 
mechanics and steam, which had been previously held, 
mathematics and geometry. Lectures, assisted by 
diagrams and the use of the lantern, would also be 
provided ; and if it should be found that there was a 
desire for the development of other and different work 
the Committee was fitted to do, nothing would give 
them greater pleasure than to establish classes in other 

Alderman Crosfield, in supporting the resolution, said 
he endorsed it with all his heart. He looked upon that 
noble suite of buildings as the outward and visible sign 
of inward municipal grace. Those buildings were the 
result of the liberality of the Legatees of the late Sir 
Joseph Whitworth, backed up by the Corporation, which 
was not always so ready to spend money wisely, and to 
use that money to the very best possible purposes that 
a corporation could do. It could be said that the 
buildings were very good, and would be very useful to 
the people, but the best part of Openshaw was the 
people themselves. They had in Openshaw about a 
mile of engineering works, and he ventured to say they 
turned out in the township work that could not be 
excelled in any part of Her Majesty's dominions. They 
had in those works a large number of skilled artizans, 
and boys who would become skilled artizans. They had 
in the township 3,000 children in the board schools, and 
over 2,000 in the voluntary schools, and more than these 
two together in the Sunday schools. He held that they 
had in Openshaw some of the brightest and most 
intelligent boys and girls in the country, who only 
wanted opportunities to develop their minds, characters, 
and talents to bring out an amount of latent enterprise 
and skill which few people had contemplated. It was 
on behalf of those boys and girls that they were that 
day rejoicing at the opening of those rooms. So far as 
he could judge they would have a large number of 
readers, not only of those books of amusement to which 
Mr. Christie had referred, but of those which would have 
a useful influence, and would be valuable to the students 


at the technical classes that would be established there. 
With regard to the social part of the enterprise, he hoped 
it would provide for workers that recreation to which 
they only were entitled. He trusted they would not 
have to put over the door a quotation from Dante up to 
date. 'AH work abandon ye who enter here.' This 
was his experience of billiard rooms connected both with 
public-houses or clubs. 

The library building is entered from Ashton Old 
Road, and comprises a library, reading room, and boys' 
room, which has a separate entrance from a side street. 

These rooms are divided from one another by glazed 
screens, which ensure complete superintendence of all 
parts of the rooms by the attendants in the library. The 
library is lighted from large windows looking into Ashton 
Old Road, and the bookcases are fixed at right angles to 
the windows, giving space for about 10,000 books. The 
reading room is in two parts, the larger part being 60ft. by 
30ft. and the smaller part 47ft. by 9ft., divided from one 
another by an arcade of four semi-circular arches carved 
on polished granite columns. The larger part has an open 
timber roof. Newspaper racks are fixed on both sides 
of the room, and two rows of reading tables, accommo- 
dating about 90 readers, fill the larger part of it. The boys' 
room contains seats for 120 readers, and both girls and 
boys are admitted. 

The coffee tavern, games room, and smoke and billiard 
rooms occupy the front of the building, and are very 
spacious and comfortable. The billiard room is furnished 
with three full-sized tables, and is a source of revenue, as 
a small charge for each game is made. 

The walls of nearly all the rooms and passages 
throughout the building are faced with buff and red bricks, 
either glazed or unglazed, no plaster being used except for 
the walls of the library and for ceilings. All joiners' work 


is of pitch pine stained and varnished, and the building is 
heated throughout by hot water. Messrs. J. W. and R. F. 
Beaumont were the architects. 

The years which have elapsed since the opening 
of this branch have made it apparent that the 
coffee tavern is not a necessity of the neighbourhood, 
whilst the games room and billiard room have become 
so popular and crowded that a doubt as to whether they 
do not seriously interfere with the utility of the more 
intellectual side of the institution grows somewhat un- 
pleasantly insistent. 

Another result of the amalgamation of the out-town- 
ships was the transference to the Libraries Committee of 
certain properties which had been in the possession of the 
Overseers, and used by them as offices and for other 
purposes. The income derived from the letting of these 
properties will be devoted to library purposes, but in 
one instance, the township offices at Crumpsall, the 
building has already been used to extend their work. Those 
offices were converted into a reading room, which was 
opened for public use on September 6th, 1897. 


On February 5th, 1898, the library contained in the 
Simpson Memorial School, Moston, was dedicated to the 
public of Manchester. This library was established in 
1888 for the use of the members of the Simpson 
Institute, and the trustees, hoping thereby to extend its 
usefulness, transferred the admirably appointed reading 
room and library, together with about 800 volumes of 
well-chosen books, to the Libraries Committee. About 
500 new books were added to the stock, and the inhabitants 
of the district have indicated their appreciation of 




Travels, &c. 


and Art 








Boolss for 
the Blind 


Kefekence Librarv 









1 14630 

Branch Libraries :— 








■ c66 








































Newton Heath 













Rochdale Road 















Reading Rooms :- 

Bradford ... 







Chester Road. 














\\;T^:ia : ::: :: 




















37th 1888-9 
3Sth 1889-90 
39lh 1890- 1 

41st 1892-3 
42nd 1893-4 
43rd 1894-5 
44th 1S95-6 
45th 18967 
46th 1897-8 



2671 84 







Reading Room 

I 64974 I 


the generosity of the trustees by making almost em- 
barrassing demands on the resources of the library. 

The latest action taken in regard to the extension of 
the branch library system has been in conjunction 
with the David Lewis Trust. It is proposed that a 
library and public institute shall be erected on land 
adjoining the Lewis Recreation Ground in Blackley, 
and that the cost should be borne respectively by the 
Trustees and the Libraries Committee. Plans for the 
buildings required have been submitted and considered, 
and there the business at present rests. 


For the further convenience of readers, particularly 
those who do not reside near any of the lending libraries, 
the five reading rooms have been constituted " Delivery 
Stations," at which readers may have books delivered to 
them from the nearest lending library, thus saving them 
the necessity of journeying to the library. Books applied 
for at any of these rooms before 10 o'clock a.m., can be 
called for after 12 o'clock on the same day, but if applied 
for after 10 they will not be obtainable until after 12 on 
the following day. Only one or two of the rooms have 
been as yet fairly successful in this new development, 
probably for the reason that the distance from the library 
nearest to them, of those but little used for the purpose, 
is not very considerable. 

The accompanying tables show the increase in the 
provision of books and of their use since the beginning of the 
new era of the growth of the libraries to the present time. 

With the exceptions of the Sunday use of the libraries 
and the use of the boys' rooms, the figures hitherto quoted 


Reference Library 

Branch Libraries :- 




Gorton ... 
Hulme .. 

Most on 

Newton Heath ... 
Rochdale Road ... 

Reading Rooms :— 
Bradford ... , ... 
Chester Road. ... 
Harpurhey ' 
Hyde Road 



ANNUAL issue: 


36ih 1887-S 
37th 1888-9 
38th 1889-90 
39lh 1890-1 
40th 1891-2 
41st 1892-3 
42nd 1893-4 
43rd 1894-5 
44th 1895-6 
45lh 1896-7 
46th 1897-8 




16 1 444 

267 1 84 



I 4923 j 
I 5492 I 



T 64974 I 





the generosity of the trustees by making almost em- 
barrassing demands on the resources of the library. 

The latest action taken in regard to the extension of 
the branch library system has been in conjunction 
with the David Lewis Trust. It is proposed that a 
library and public institute shall be erected on land 
adjoining the Lewis Recreation Ground in Blackley, 
and that the cost should be borne respectively by the 
Trustees and the Libraries Committee. Plans for the 
buildings required have been submitted and considered, 
and there the business at present rests. 


For the further convenience of readers, particularly 
those who do not reside near any of the lending libraries, 
the five reading rooms have been constituted " Delivery 
Stations," at which readers may have books delivered to 
them from the nearest lending library, thus saving them 
the iiecessTty of journeying to the library. Books applied 
for at any of these rooms before 10 o'clock a.m., can be 
called for after 12 o'clock on the same day, but if applied 
for after 10 they will not be obtainable until after 12 on 
the following day. Only one or two of the rooms have 
been as yet fairly successful in this new development, 
probably for the reason that the distance from the library 
nearest to them, of those but little used for the purpose, 
is not very considerable. 

The accompanying tables show the increase in the 
provision of books and of their use since the beginning of the 
new era of the growth of the libraries to the present time. 

With the exceptions of the Sunday use of the libraries 
and the use of the boys' rooms, the figures hitherto quoted 


have referred solely to the reading of books ; yet there is 
another branch of free library work, not unimportant, 
still remaining to be considered, but about which it is 
more difficult to give precise details. This is the work of 
the newsrooms. To each branch library a large newsroom 
is attached, which is supplied with a selection of news- 
papers, periodicals, and books of reference accessible to 
readers without formality of any kind. This prevents 
the possibility of ascertaining with perfect accuracy to 
what extent the newsrooms are used. To obtain 
information on this point which may be reasonably 
used as a basis upon which to calculate the number of 
visits made to the newsrooms, an exact count is taken 
during two weeks in the year, one in winter and the 
other in summer. Borrowers entering for the purpose 
of exchanging their books are not included in the 
enumeration. The results of the last count, together 
with the estimated number of visitors derived therefrom, 
are given in the following table : — 



Number of times persons have used the Newsrooms 
during two weeks — one in February, 1898, and one in 
Aueust, i8q8. 

Branch Libraries :— 

Ancoats 6199 

Cheetham 9180 

Chorlton 9338 

Deansgate .14293 

Gorton I 3744 

Hulme 9947 

Longsight : 4295 

Moston 1098 

Newton Heath 1 2677 

Openshaw I 4137 

Rochdale Road. 

Reading Rooms 


Chester Road 


Harpurhey . ... 
Hyde Road ... 






1 1035 



Daily AvERAGi 




























T3 > 

"■^ 6 "S 
















The following is a Summary of the Statistics relative to 
the use of the Manchester Public Free Libraries 
during the last two official years. 

1897-8 i 1896-7 
Volumes Used. ' 

No. of Vols, used in the Reference Library 

lent for home use 

used in the Reading Rooms on Week-days 
Boys' Rooms on Week-days 
Sundays . 

Total No. of Vols, used 

Daily average of Vols, used 

Readers and Borrowers. 

No. of Readers at the Reference Library 

No. of Borrowers {i.e., the number of times they have 

used the Lil)raries) 
No. of Readers {i.e., users of Books in the General 
Reading Rooms at the Branches) on Week-days 

No. of Readers on Sundays 

,, ,, in the Boys' Rooms on Week-days ... 
,, ,, ,, ,, Sundays 

Total No. of Readers and Borrowers 



Aggregate use of the Libraries and Reading Rooms, 

By Borrowers 

Estimated number of Visitors to the Newsrooms and 

Reading Rooms 

Number of Users of the Reference Library 

„ ,, ,, Boys' Rooms 

Total number of Users 

Daily average 

Borrowers' Cards. 

No. of Borrowers' Cards issued 

,, ,, cancelled 

,, ,, transferred 

,, ,, now in force 

Books Lost. 

Vols, lost by Borrowers and paid for by them 

,, ,, and paid for by guarantors 
,, ,, and not yet recovered 

Library Stock. 

Vols, bound and repaired 

Vols, and Periodical Cases lettered 

Vols, withdrawn as worn-out 

,, ,, as duplicates or useless 

Additions to the Libraries (including replacements of 

worn-out books) 

No. of Vols, in the Reference Library 

,, ,, Lending Libraries and Reading Rooms 
Total No. of Vols, in all the Libraries 




508 j 

14883 i 
I 14630 
278078 I 









1 10358 


From the figures contained in the foregoing tables it 
will be seen that for the last official year, 1897-8, the total 
number of visits to the whole of the institutions for 
every purpose to which they are devoted was estimated 
to be 6,271,671, or 17,518 every day. On comparing these 
figures with those for 187 1-2 (the end of the first period 
of growth), namely, 2,264,688, it will be found that the use 
of the Free Libraries has increased by nearly ^oopeijcent. 
But the population has by no means grown at the same 
rate, the difference between the present estimated number, 
540,000, and that of the census of 1871, 351,189, being 
roughly about one-half greater. The increase in popu- 
lation, therefore, cannot account for this vastly enhanced 
use, and the additional facilities (new branches, Sunday 
opening, boys' rooms, &c.) make a difference only of rather 
more than two millions. It is clear, then, that a 
spontaneous growth of about 33 per cent, has taken 
place in recent years in the use by the public of their free 
libraries, and so far as can be judged this growth will not 
only be maintained, but will expand as the years advance. 

This fact, full of satisfaction as it is for those interested 
in this movement, naturally impels us to ask, what does 
all this mean ? All this reading of newspapers and books, 
what does it prove and what does it imply ? These 
questions are not easily answered. It is difficult to 
appraise the value of an undertaking of which the effects 
are mainly moral, and the results not immediately 
apparent. There are many such undertakings at work in 
our midst, seeking to supplement, as powerfully as they 
can, the efforts of religion and of the State to increase the 
well-being of the people. Often and often, and year by 


year, these efforts seem to be abortive, and the vast 
volume of misery and crime appears never to grow less. 
And yet, if we take a wider view, if we look back upon 
the centuries, the intellectual and moral advance which 
has been made is almost startlingly visible. Is it not 
very probable that the work of these free libraries may be 
helping more largely in this direction than even their 
advocates assume ? No earnest reader of good books can 
fail to derive benefit therefrom. Nor is it possible for a 
community to have at its call without let or hindrance the 
best literature of all civilised peoples, the accumulated 
knowledge and wisdom of all the ages, and the latest 
results of investigation or discovery, without becoming, if 
they make themselves acquainted with these things, better 
men and better citizens, better workers and better com- 
petitors in the arena of the world's industry. It is for this 
purpose and to this end that all education exists and is 
directed. At school we provide our children with tools 
which they may afterwards use to carve their way to 
fortune. But in such process these tools will need 
strengthening, improving, sharpening, and so our youths 
are passed on to the Technical School, and finally to that 
university of the worker, a large collection of books. 
Here they find the instruction of their text-books expanded 
and carried to its latest known achievement by men who 
have made it the business of their lives specially to study 
some special subject, or are introduced to the wide fields 
of imagination, theory, speculation, or record, in which they 
may find relief from labour, or suggestions for turning 
their knowledge and abilities to account. Such libraries 
as our extensive and most valuable Reference Library 
place the poor scholar in the matter of books on a level 
with the millionaire, and so it seems that it would be well 
if a closer connection than at present exists could be 


devised between the schools, both elementary and technical, 
and this natural and indispensable supplementer of them. 


An important economic lesson which the establish- 
ment of these free libraries enforces is that which Mr. 
Stanley Jevons calls the principle of the multiplication of 
utility. In other words, they show how cheaply and how 
well a thing can be done by co-operative effort. No 
individual, unless his income were princely, could acquire 
and maintain a library at all comparable with these. Yet 
the community not only does this with ease, but at so 
trifling an individual expense that it is probably felt by no 
man. In other directions this principle of co-operative 
effort has spread, and is likely to spread. Carlyle said 
that co-operation would be the future solution of the 
labour question. That stage has not yet been reached, 
but it can hardly be denied that it is the duty of every 
honest man to do his best to help his fellow-man, and he 
can best do so by working heart and soul in combination 
with him. The present basis of society has been called 
an enlightened selfishness ; but when the poor amongst us 
have learned to be honest, and sober, and faithful to each 
other, they will then assuredly band together and eliminate 
from it whatever militates against enlightenment Every- 
thing, ever effort, every institution, that will assist them 
to do this is a noble thing, and of good report, and that 
community is wise which takes unto itself and cherishes 
whatsoever means are helpful to this splendid consum- 


What the annual cost is to the community of Man- 
chester for providing itself with the magnificent system of 
public libraries which has been established the accom- 


panying table shows. The income derivable from a rate 
of 2d. in the pound, to which the expenditure on these 
institutions is limited, amounts in round figures, to 
;^2 5,000 per annum. 


A few years ago the Income Tax Commissioners 
made the discovery that the property of the Public Library 
Committees had till then escaped the lynx-eyes of their 
officials. This was not to be tolerated longer and 
accordingly in 1892 such property was in various parts of 
the county scheduled for payment of income tax. Bristol 
and Manchester immediately appealed against this imposi- 
tion. The Bristol case was tried first, and was decided 
against the Corporation on the ground that the buildings 
assessed did not belong to a "Literary or Scientific Insti- 
tution," within the meaning of the Income Tax Act. 
This rebuff" did not alarm Manchester. The Corporation 
of that city determined to fight their appeal to the end, 
and the final result of their efforts was complete victory, 
and the relief of the public libraries throughout the 
country from this additional load sought to be laid upon 
their already over-burdened shoulders. This case was of 
such high importance to the institutions concerned and so 
many novel, debatable, and vital points in connection 
with them were raised and discussed during its progress 
that a brief history of it should be placed on record. 

When the Manchester Public Libraries Committee 
received in 1892 a demand for Income Tax from the 
Commissioners of Inland Revenue, they appealed locally 
but postponed any further action until the settlement of the 
Bristol case. At the meeting of the Library Association in 
Aberdeen, in 1893, the Chairman of the Manchester 
Libraries Committee gave a promise that Manchester would 
proceed with its appeal. It was thought that the best course 

3 1 ST 




Coal, Gas, 
and Water. 





: s. d. 
I 14 3 

144 15 10 

141 6 8 

~T s. d. 
5388 8 10 

£ s. 
127 18 


£ s. d. 
5260 10 


104 I 6 

22 10 8 

927 8 10 

8 7 

919 I 10 


97 17 7 

23 18 

1043 5 9 


1033 5 9 


133 5 8 

20 8 6 

i09[ 12 6 

II 9 


1080 2 10 


149 M 5 

15 9 3 

1212 18 4 

7 8 


1205 9 5 


93 16 9 

13 2 I 

768 7 to 

3 13 


764 13 II 


87 7 2 


1276 17 6 

15 7 


1261 10 I 


68 4 

32 18 9 

941 2 

40 19 


900 2 4 



6 5 4 

183 6 


183 6 


63 4 

17 12 3 

662 19 9 

6 5 


656 14 


172 2 4 

38 5 II 

1203 6 10 

144 5 


1059 I I 


129 9 10 

26 18 7 ! 920 13 3 

10 9 


910 3 9 

52 15 9 

13 6 7 

747 3 6 

31 5 

715 18 6 


45 13 4 

3 12 10 

351 19 6 

26 4 

325 15 6 


58 18 10 

4 16 II 

433 13 5 

3 7 


430 5 II 


28 17 3 

8 14 9 

329 I II 


329 I II 


39 7 10 

5 13 8 

285 3 5 

I 9 


283 13 8 


54 18 5 

3 17 10 

410 I 8 

2 8 


407 12 II 

I 14 3 

1524 10 6 

414 18 7 18177 10 10 


451 I 


17726 9 5 

Manchester Museum. 

£ s. d. 

hchester Museum, Owens College 


Lucres t and Liquidation of Debt. 
tier Charges on New Loans and Renewals 

7 IS 

ebt (inclu 

ding Bank Interest and Commission) 

986 14 
464 6 

1458 16 



: Bank In 

terest and Charges for Repayment of Loan 

45 18 


1412 17 7 


19539 7 


TO 31ST MARCH, 1S99. 

Salaries and 

.43 ,r: 

3S1 .0 9 
47S 16 5 
510 5 4 
512 18 
415 16 2 
607 18 2 
434 " 6 
92 15 5 
337 7 6 
537 3 11 
390 I II 
378 14 10 

126 19 7 

■23 14 7 
122 19 3 
208 6 6 

Rent, Chief 
Rent, Rates, 
Taxes, and 

131 7 3 
I 19 6 

54 15 2 
1 5 6 
3' 4 9 
122 8 3 
58 8 9 

33 13 4 

36 .4 4 

19 I 10 

25 2 S 
18 14 4 
18 14 3 
35 10 6 


105 16 3 

115 10 6 
112 IS 6 
106 16 2 

63 2 S 
169 12 5 

93 12 5 

45 5 4 

S3 2 5 
72 8 6 

4 '9 8 

5 8 10 
I 7 4 
I 19 8 







Repairs, and 




Coal, Gas, 
and Water. 





Reference Library ... 









Newton Heath 


Rochdale Road 


Reading Rooms :— 


Chester Road 



Hyde Road 

L s. d. 
502 19 5 

S3 6 4 
99 7 

106 2 7 
36 .9 5 

107 13 2 
53 4 2 

33 "0 5 
35 16 8 

61 9 2 
5 8 6 
17 13 6 

I s. d. 

112 9 2 
121 8 5 
■30 14 3 
91 7 9 
132 14 2 
97 9 
2O II 6 
88 8 2 
99 8 
114 15 6 
88 6 9 

53 IS 9 
So II 7 

Si iS 8 

£ s. d. 
233 19 II 

13 12 II 
35 18 5 
40 16 3 
32 16 3 

6 13 10 

3 19 3 
3 19 7 

2 S I 

L s. d. 
196 2 

116 13 7 

18 16 I 
■75 "7 9(*) 

15 12 I 

19 II 3 
67 3 3 

1 7 6 

46 14 2 
48 16 5 

85 3 6 
43 5 
loi 8 
37 6 I 

2 18 

£ s. A. 
201 19 I 

I s. d. 
51 14 3 

I s. d. 
144 15 10 

104 I 6 
97 17 7 
^il 5 8 
■49 '4 5 
93 16 9 
87 7 2 
68 4 

63 4 
172 2 4 
129 9 10 

52 15 9 

45 13 4 
58 iS 10 
28 17 3 
39 7 10 
54 IS 5 

ifl 6 \ 

23 18 
20 8 6 
15 9 3 
13 2 I 

32 18 9 
6 5 4 
■7 12 3 
38 5 II 
26 18 7 
13 6 7 

3 12 10 

4 16 II 
8 14 9 

5 13 8 
3 17 10 

C s. d. 
5388 8 10 

927 8 10 
■043 5 9 
1091 12 6 
1212 18 4 
768 7 10 
1276 17 6 
941 2 
.83 6 
662 ,9 9 
1203 6 10 
920 13 3 
747 3 6 

351 19 6 
433 13 5 
329 I II 
2S5 3 5 
410 I 8 

£ s. d. 

127 IS 10 

8 7 

II 9 8 
7 8 II 
3 ^3 II 
15 7 5 
40 19 S 

6 5 9 
144 5 9 
10 9 6 
3^ 5 

26 4 
3 7 6 

■ 9 9 

2 S 9 

5^60 10^0 

919 I 10 
1033 5 9 

1205 9 5 

764 13 II 
I26I 10 I 

900 2 4 
1S3 6 
656 14 
■059 I I 
9^o 3 9 
7^5 18 6 

325 .5 6 
430 5 II 
329 I II 
283 13 8 


8496 II 7 

750 15 6 

2065 2 II 

■325 6 5 

1723 17 4 

48s 12 

■■37 2 8 

201 19 I 

5" ^4 3 

1524 10 6 

414 18 7 

18177 10 10 

45^ I S 

17726 9 5 

Manchesltr Museum. 

Contribution to Manchester Mnseum, Owens College 

lalcrest a„d Liquidalion cfDebt. 

Stamp Duty and other Chaiges on New Loans and Renewals 715 

Interest on Loan Debt (including Bank Interest and Commission) ... 9S6 14 II 

Sinking Fund 464 6 2 

1458 16 I 
Deduct Receipts for Bank Interest and Charges for Repayment of Loans 45 'S 6 

NoTl£-(a) Including /20. 13s. for Transcribing Manchester Sessions MS., and /s for Transcribing Catalogue 

(«) Including Contract for Shelving ^80. 

£ s. d. 

1412 17 7 


of action would be to endeavour to obtain a reversal of 
the Bristol judgment in the Queen's Bench Division of the 
High Court. This meant in effect a request to the judges, 
Mr. Justice Wright, and Mr. Justice Collins, who had 
decided the Bristol case to review their judgment, and 
come to a totally opposite conclusion. After a careful 
hearing these judges decided not to stultify themselves, 
but strongly recommended the appellants to carry the 
case to the Court of Appeal. This accordingly was done 
and the case came on for hearing on January 30th, 1895, 
before the Master of the Rolls (Lord Esher), and Lords 
Justices Lindley and Rigby, and once more suffered the 
misfortune of being dismissed with costs. But the decision 
was not unanimous. Justices Lindley and Rigby supported 
the adverse decision, but the Master of the Rolls strongly 
opposed it. In delivering judgment Lord Justice Lindley 
said he " could not think that a Municipal Corporation or 
body of ratepayers who by adopting the Public Libraries 
Act, have become liable to be rated in order to maintain a 
public library is a literary institution within the meaning of 
that phrase in Schedule A, Part 6, of the Income Tax Act, 
1842. A literary or scientific institution supported by 
rates is not in my opinion such an institution as was 
contemplated by the legislature. To call the Corporation 
of Manchester, even in its character of Library Authority, 
a Literary Institution is in my opinion to misapply the 
expression, and to extend the exemption to a class of 
cases to which it was never intended to apply." 

Lord Justice Rigby said he was of the same opinion, 
and he drew a distinction between the owners of the 
building and the building itself, and the purposes to which 
it was devoted. Though these institutions might be said 
to be literary institutions their owners could not be 
described as a literary or scientific institution. 


of action would be to endeavour to obtain a reversal of 
the Bristol judgment in the Queen's Bench Division of the 
High Court. This meant in effect a request to the judges, 
Mr. Justice Wright, and Mr. Justice Collins, who had 
decided the Bristol case to review their judgment, and 
come to a totally opposite conclusion. After a careful 
hearing these judges decided not to stultify themselves, 
but strongly recommended the appellants to carry the 
case to the Court of Appeal. This accordingly was done 
and the case came on for hearing on January 30th, 1895, 
before the Master of the Rolls (Lord Esher), and Lords 
Justices Lindley and Rigby, and once more suffered the 
misfortune of being dismissed with costs. But the decision 
was not unanimous. Justices Lindley and Rigby supported 
the adverse decision, but the Master of the Rolls strongly 
opposed it. In delivering judgment Lord Justice Lindley 
said he " could not think that a Municipal Corporation or 
body of ratepayers who by adopting the Public Libraries 
Act, have become liable to be rated in order to maintain a 
public library is a literary institution within the meaning of 
that phrase in Schedule A, Part 6, of the Income Tax Act, 
1842. A literary or scientific institution supported by 
rates is not in my opinion such an institution as was 
contemplated by the legislature. To call the Corporation 
of Manchester, even in its character of Library Authority, 
a Literary Institution is in my opinion to misapply the 
expression, and to extend the exemption to a class of 
cases to which it was never intended to apply." 

Lord Justice Rigby said he was of the same opinion, 
and he drew a distinction between the owners of the 
building and the building itself, and the purposes to which 
it was devoted. Though these institutions might be said 
to be literary institutions their owners could not be 
described as a literary or scientific institution. 


The Master of the Rolls in dissenting from the views 
of his colleagues made certain observations which may 
possibly prove of the utmost value in determining the 
construction to be placed upon the wording and intention 
of the Public Libraries Acts. " I feel much pressed by 
this" he said, "that if the law is as has been stated it must 
have been about as severe a blow to the intention of the 
Legislature when they passed the Public Libraries Act as 
can be given, for the case would stand thus : That if any 
person is willing to give a building or land of his for the 
purpose of a public library he gives up all control of that 
land, he has no power to take it back, he has no power to 
sell it, he has no power to interfere with it, he gets nothing 
from it, but he gives it for the purpose of a public library 
to be enjoyed by other people than himself, and he is left 
to pay this tax to the government for the rest of his life 
or for ever. Well, I should say that anything more absurd 
than such legislation, if it is the legislation, which was 
meant to encourage people to give their land or to give 
their property for these public libraries, cannot well be 

Then he proceeded to define the position of a Mayor 
and Corporation, in their general and ordinary capacity, 
as regards the ownership of any building devoted to public 
library purposes, and to the expression of views which, if 
acted upon, may lead to friction and even litigation 
between library committees and the body by whom 
they may have been appointed. " The first thing in my 
opinion," he contends " is this, that they (the Mayor, &c.) 
are not the owners of this building in that capacity — they 
are not the owners at all, and if they are not the owners 
at all they cannot be made liable to this tax. These 
buildings did belong to the Corporation of Manchester, 
but they resolved to give them up — to turn them into free 


libraries." He then argues that the Corporation of Man- 
chester in its capacity as Urban Authority had delegated 
these libraries and the property connected therewith to a 
"Library Authority" and such property was vested in 
them. He continues "Now what are the Library 
Authority with regard to that land. It is vested in them, 
they never can receive any benefit from it ; they are 
obliged to deal with it solely for the purposes of the 
library. It seems to me that they are nothing but bare 
Trustees for the people who use the library. They are the 
Library Authority — not the Corporation of Manchester, 
mind. If the Corporation of Manchester attempted to 
intermeddle with this thing at all, in their capacity of 
Corporation, I should say they would be doing that which 
they have no possible right to do. In my opinion the 
proper inference is that they (the Legislature) in 1892 
intended to put these free libraries within the exception 
in the Act of 1842. If they have not done it they have 
defeated their own object in the greatest measure." 

This strong dissention on the part of so eminent an 
authority encouraged the Manchester Committee to con- 
tinue the combat, but as much expense had been already 
incurred they appealed to the Free Library Committees 
throughout the country for assistance in carrying the suit to 
the highest court in the realm — the House of Lords. Their 
request was promptly responded to and a sum of ;^300 
was guaranteed. An action was entered accordingly and 
the case was heard before the Lord Chancellor (Lord 
Halsbury), Lord Herschell, Lord Macnaghten, and Lord 
Morris. After an exhaustive hearing judgment was finally 
given nearly six months later, in favour of the appellants. 
Thus after four persevering efforts this important victory 
was won, and another obstacle in the somewhat thorny 
path of the free library movement was removed. 


During the progress of the case some curious and 
interesting points were debated. One of these was " Is a 
PubHc Library a Hterary institution ? " Such a question 
seems too simple to be serious, but it gave the legal 
quidnuncs much scope for learned discussion, the gist of 
it turning however on the meaning attachable to the word 
" institution." Even the dictionary was called upon for an 
authoritative pronouncement, but its definitions also got 
terribly belaboured, until the Lord Chancellor had to 
admit that " if you begin to apply rigorous rules of verbal 
accuracy to phrases contained in a Statute, I do not know 
where we shall be." The Lord Chancellor based his 
disagreement with the view of the majority of the court 
on the assumption that the legislature in passing the 
Income Tax Act of 1842 intended the exemption to 
apply to institutions then in existence and whose con- 
stitutions and objects were well known. Lord Herschell 
in the course of his judgment said : " Apart from any 
question of the ownership of the buildings and of the 
maintenance of the libraries by a rate levied on the 
occupiers within the city, I do not think it was doubted 
that a public free library is a literary institution. Its 
object is to spread a knowledge and love of literature 
among the people. Such an institution is in my opinion 
quite aptly termed literary. The difficulty arises from the 
other words used. To be exempted the building must be 
' the property of a literary institution.' What was meant 
by this was property appropriated to and applied for its 
purposes. I think, therefore, that even though the 
Corporation of Manchester in whom the buildings, the 
taxation of which is now in question, are vested, cannot be 
said to be itself a literary institution, nevertheless, the 
buildings being appropriated for the purposes of free 
public libraries, being devoted exclusively to that use, and 


incapable of being legally applied to any other purpose, 
may properly be said to be the property of a literary 

Lord Macnaghten considered that the Legislature 
intended that the character of the institution, not the 
circumstances of its origin or the means by which it was 
established or supported, should give rise to the claim for 
exemption. He could not see that it mattered in the very 
least in whom the legal ownership of public library 
buildings was vested, provided the buildings themselves 
are legally appropriated to the purposes of the institution. 

By this judgment three important points have been 
definitely settled. We know now that free libraries are 
"literary institutions," that corporations are "literary 
institutions," and that property devoted to public library 
purposes is exempt from income tax. 

Now that the Government has been beaten, it 
naturally follows that efforts will be made to shake off 
the burden of local taxation. The act exempting literary 
institutions from these imposts expressly stipulates that 
they must be supported " wholly or in part by annual 
voluntary subscriptions." This will form the difficulty to 
be overcome. But those who may be contemplating a 
tilt against the authorities anent this question, may well 
take heart of grace from the words of the Government's 
own advocate Mr. Danckwerts, who in the course of his 
argument made these important admissions : — 

" The contest here is between imperial and local 
taxation, and the question is whether, when buildings of 
this sort become appropriated under the Public Libraries 
Act, they shall cease to contribute to imperial taxation, 
although they are still liable to local taxation. I submit 
that all the reasons which a priori would have made in 
favour of exemption from imperial taxation apply equally 


to local taxation. I submit that there is no greater 
reason why they should be exempt from one kind of 
taxation than from the other kind of taxation." 

In these words is encouragement and hope enough. 
And after all it is merely a legal cobweb that needs be 
swept away, for on the grounds of equity or reasonable- 
ness local taxation of these useful institutions is more 
undefensible and iniquitous than even the proposed 
imperial extortion which has been so successfully resisted. 


In the measures and methods adopted for working 
the public libraries modifications and changes have been 
made from time to time as experience was acquired, or a 
more liberal spirit prevailed. At their commencement the 
Reference Library was open to the public every day, 
except Sundays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday, from 
ten in the morning to nine at night, and the Lending 
Library from noon to two o'clock, and from six to nine 
in the evening, except on Saturdays, when the library was 
open from twelve to nine. Now the Reference Library 
is open from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. every week day, the 
additional hour of access both morning and evening 
having been adopted in 1886, and also on Sundays from 
two to nine o'clock. It is closed only on Christmas Day 
and Good Friday. With the growth of the branch 
library and newsroom system the hours during which the 
institutions are open, and in which the business connected 
with them is transacted, have necessarily completely 
changed, and will be found detailed in the " Directions to 
Readers and Borrowers," given on page 233. 

The clumsy process of causing all persons on entering 
the library to write their names and addresses in a book 
provided for the purpose, and only allowing them to 


receive books after such signature was obtained, formed 
one of Mr. Edwards's " Provisional Rules," but it was soon 
abandoned, and restriction of entry entirely swept away. 
For the procurement of books to read in either the 
Reference or Lending Libraries, a printed form was sub- 
stituted for the register, and this system is still in use. 

No one was allowed free access to any books, but had 
to find whatsoever was required by means of the cata- 
logues. Now cases are provided in all the libraries, wherein 
the latest additions are displayed, books are freely shown 
to borrowers to facilitate their choice, and both in the 
Reference and Lending Libraries open shelves containing 
a selection of books for reference are accessible to every- 
one without formality of any kind. 

Originally it was deemed prudent to require the signa- 
tures of two ratepayers as guarantors for a borrower's 
honesty. Not only have these been reduced to one, but 
in case the intending borrower is an elector of either 
Manchester or Salford he may be his own guarantor. 
The guarantee form in the early days must have been 
delivered to the Librarian three days before books could 
be obtained, in order that the verifications required might 
be elaborately made. Now the form is examined on 
delivery, and if found correct books ma}^ be borrowed 
without further delay. 

In 1879 Bye-laws for the regulation of the libraries 
were drawn up by the Committee, sanctioned by the 
Council, and approved by the Secretary of State, and are 
now in force. They are as follows : — 

The Mayor, Aldermen, and Citizens of the City of 
Manchester, in the County of Lancaster, being assembled in 

230 BYE-LAWS. 

Council in the Town Hall, in the said city, on Wednesday, 
the third day of September, 1879, and more than two- 
thirds in number of the whole Council being present, do 
hereby, in pursuance of " The Manchester Improvement 
Act, 1 87 1," make the following Bye-laws : — 

1. In construing these Bye-laws the word " Library " shall 
mean any and every Public Free Library for the time being 
belonging to or vested in or under the control of the said 
Council, and the several rooms, passages, and staircases thereof, 
and the word " Librarian " shall include the principal Librarian 
and his assistants, and the word " Book " shall include news- 
papers, pamphlets, pictures, engravings, maps, plans, and other 
articles of a like nature ; and all words importing the masculine 
gender shall be deemed and taken to include females, and the 
singular to include the plural, and the plural the singular. 

2. Every such library shall be open to the public gratuitously 
daily throughout the year, with the exception of Christmas Day, 
Good Friday, and such other days, if any, as the Libraries 
Committee of the said Council shall direct, and during such 
hours as the said Committee shall direct. No person shall enter 
or remain in any Hbrary except whilst it is open to the public as 

3. No person who is in a state of intoxication, or is 
uncleanly in person or dress, or who is suffering from an 
infectious or offensive disease, shall be admitted to or allowed to 
remain in any library. No person shall be allowed to lie on the 
benches or chairs, or to sleep in any library, or to interfere with 
the arrangements for conducting it, or with the comfort of the 
readers therein, or to use the same for any purpose for which it 
is not intended. No conversation shall be permitted in any 
library. No person shall partake of refreshments, or smoke, 
spit, strike matches, or bring a dog into any library. The 
admission of persons under 14 years of age to any reading room 
shall be in the discredon of the Librarian. 

4. No person shall pass within the enclosures of any 
library, or take any book from the shelves. 

5. Every person desiring to read books in any library shall 

BYE-LAWS. 231 

write his true name and place of abode, and the title and number 
in the catalogue of the book required by him, on a ticket 
provided for that purpose, which is to be delivered to the 
Librarian ; and shall before leaving the room return such book 
into the hands of the Librarian, and shall not, under any 
circumstances, take the same out of the room. 

6. Books will be lent from the lending department of each 
library to an elector of Manchester or Salford, on his signing a 
voucher in the presence of the Librarian, or to a non-elector 
upon the production of a voucher for the safe return of the 
books, signed by a person enrolled -.on the List of Citizens of 
Manchester, or on the List of Burgesses of Salford, or on the 
Parliamentary Lists of Manchester or Salford, such vouchers to 
be on the forms provided for the purpose. 

7. Any person who shall deliver, or permit to be delivered, 
to the Librarian any voucher which shall not have been actually 
signed by the citizen, burgess, or elector by whom it purports to 
have been signed, or some person duly authorised by him, or 
wherein any false statement is made, shall be subject to a 
penalty not exceeding £,^ ; and any person not being the 
intending borrower named in any voucher, or authorised by him, 
who shall attempt to use the same, shall be subject to the like 

8. In exchange for the voucher above mentioned the 
Librarian will deliver to the applicant a borrower's card, which 
must be produced on every application for a book. Any person 
who is not named in the said card, or authorised by him, who 
shall make use of the same for the purpose of obtaining a book 
or books, shall be Uable to a penalty not exceeding ^^5. The 
lending register of any library shall be sufficient evidence that 
the book therein named has been lent to the person whose name 
is written opposite the same on the date therein specified. 

9. No person shall be eligible to borrow books from more 
than one lending department at the same time ; but any borrower 
who has conformed to these Bye-laws may have his card 
transferred from one lending department to another. No person 
shall have more than one borrower's card, nor be allowed more 
than one book or set of books, at the same time. 

232 B YE-LA WS. 

10. Every person taking out a book from any lending depart- 
ment under the foregoing regulations must return the same 
within the period specified on the label of such book, and must, 
whether such period has expired or not, return the same in 
accordance with any public notice calling in books posted in the 
library from which the same shall have been borrowed. 

11. If any book be not returned in accordance with the 
regulations herein contained, or if it be returned torn, cut, soiled, 
written in, or with leaves turned down, or otherwise injured, the 
borrower shall pay to the Committee such a sum of money as 
will replace such book or sat of books to which it belongs, or 
be a full compensation for the damage or loss sustained by the 
library. If the borrower shall not make such payment, the 
citizen, burgess, or elector whose name is subscribed to such 
voucher shall, on demand, pay to the Committee such sum of 
money as aforesaid. When a new copy of a book or set of books 
has been provided in lieu of that or those injured, the person at 
whose cost the same shall have been so provided will be entitled 
to the damaged copy or remaining volumes, each volume being 
stamped " Sold from the Manchester Public Free Libraries." 
Books stolen or lost shall continue the property of the Council, 
although replaced or paid for. 

12. Any person suffering from an infectious disease who 
shall borrow, read, or use any book from any library, or any 
person having a book from any library who shall permit the 
same to be used by anyone suffering from an infectious disease, 
shall be liable to a penalty not exceeding £^. 

13. Any person selling, pledging, pawning, or disposing of, 
or purchasing or advancing money upon any book, newspaper, 
or other article, from any library, or attempting so to do, shall 
forfeit and pay a penalty not exceeding ^5. 

14. No person shall write upon any book, or shall soil, 
damage, mutilate, or deface such book, or the walls or windows 
of any library, or the furniture or fittings thereof, or any property 
of the Council connected therewith. 

15. Any person offending against the foregoing Bye-laws 
may (whether or not he has been convicted before Her Majesty's 
Justices of the Peace in respect of such offence) be excluded 


from the use of every library for such period as the said Com- 
mittee may determine. 

16. The Librarian, and any police constable instructed by 
him, may exclude or remove from any hbrary all idle or disorderly 
persons who are not using such place for the purpose for which 
it is intended, or who have, in the opinion of such Librarian, 
been guilty of a breach of any of these Bye-laws or of any 
public law. 

To facilitate the use of the lending libraries and the 
newsrooms by the public, these directions have been 
prepared and are expected to be observed. 


1. The lending department is open for the delivery and 
return of books from 8-30 a.m. to 9-0 p.m. every day, except 
Sundays, Christmas Day, and Good Friday. On Saturday the 
issue of books to borrowers ceases at 5-0 o'clock. The news- 
room is open daily from 8-30 a.m. to 10-0 p.m., except Christmas 
Day and Good Friday, and is also open on Sundays, from 
2-0 p.m. to 9-0 p.m. The Boys' Reading Room is open from 
6-0 to 9-0 every evening. 

2. Admission to the newsroom is free. 

3. Books may be obtained to read in the newsroom by 
signing a reader's ticket, which may be had on application. 
Books so obtained are not, under any circumstances, to be taken 
out of the newsroom. 

4. Persons, being non-electors, wishing to borrow books to 
read at home must obtain the signature of some person whose 
name is either on the List of Citizens of Manchester or on the List 
of Burgesses of Salford, or on the Parliamentary Registers of 
Manchester or Salford, who shall sign the following voucher for 
the safe return of the books : — 

I undertake to pay, in respect of any book lielonging to the Cor- 
poration OF Manchester, which shall be issued in the name of 

and which shall be injured or not duly returned, such sum of money as 
will replace such book, or the set of books to which it belongs. Sifi;nature 
of Guarantor 

Ward and Address of Guarantor 
Dated this day of ' 18 


Any elector of Manchester or Salford may obtain books for home 
reading after signing a voucher in the form provided, of which 
the following is a copy. 

I, the undersigned, being an Elector of 
and being desirous of Borrowing Books, to take home for reading, and 
knowing the Bye-laws and Regulations of the Manchester Public 
Free Libraries, hereby apply for a Borrower's Card, entitling me to 
Borrow Books from the Lending Branch. 

If any Book issued in my name should be damaged or not duly 
returned, I engage to pay such sum of money as will, to the satisfaction 
of the Librarian, compensate for, or replace such book or the set of 
volumes to which such book belongs ; and, further, I engage to con- 
form in all other respects to the Bye-laws and Regulations of the 
Manxhester Public Free Libraries. 

Dated this day of 

/ Name 




Address or Residence, 

Librarian or Assistant Librarian. 
N.B. — This application must be signed in the presence of the Branch 
Librarian or his Assistant and left with him for examination. 

Printed voucher forms may be had on application. The voucher, 
when duly signed and found correct, will be exchanged for a 
borrower's card, which, in the case of electors, will have to be 
renewed every year, and of non-electors every three years. 

5. Every person on obtaining a borrower's card must write 
his or her name, occupation, and residence in a book provided 
for that purpose ; and such signature shall be taken and con- 
sidered to be an assent to the Bye-laws. 

6. It is desirable that books should be appUed for by the 
borrowers personally. When they cannot conveniently visit the 
library, they are requested to send a messenger competent to 
deliver their messages and to take due care of the books. The 
librarian has instructions to refuse books to messengers who are 
not able to take proper care of them. 

7. Borrowers returning their books are expected not to leave 
them on the counter, or give them into the hands of strangers, 
but to deliver them to the Librarian, or his assistant, the borrower 
being held responsible for books not so delivered. 


8. The same borrower is not eligible to borrow books from 
more than one lending branch at a time, but borrowers may have 
their cards transferred temporarily or permanently from one 
branch to another. 

9. Borrowers are cautioned against losing their cards, as they 
will be held responsible for any book or books which may be 
taken out of the library by the use of their cards until the period 
for which the card is granted has expired. Lost cards can be 
replaced subject to this responsibility. 

10. Any change in the residence of borrowers or their 
guarantors must be intimated to the Librarian within one week of 
such change. Inattention to this direction will render the 
borrower's card liable to suspension. 

11. Borrowers are requested to use tbe books carefully, to 
keep them clean, not to fold down the leaves, nor make marks of 
any kind in them. 

12. Borrowers leaving town, or ceasing to use the library, 
are required to return their cards to the Librarian in order to have 
their guarantees cancelled, otherwise they and their guarantors 
will be held responsible for any books taken out in their names. 

13. On asking for books, the title should be legibly written 
down, with the number and class letter affixed to it in the index 
catalogue ; and it is recommended that a list of at least twenty 
books in the order wanted should be furnished in all cases of 
works in general demand, as many of them may be out at the 

14. No book can be engaged beforehand ; but the borrower 
who first applies for a book after it has been returned is entitled 
to have it. 

15. The period of loan may be renewed on presenting the 
book, or by postal card, provided it is not in request by any other 
borrower. Postal cards must contain the class letter, name, and 
number of the book, the date of issue, and the borrower's signa- 
ture. They must also be received before the expiration of the 
time allowed for reading the book. 

16. Borrowers detaining books beyond the time allowed for 
reading will incur the risk of having their privilege to borrow 
suspended or forfeited, and of having a special messenger sent for 
the books at their expense. 


17. Borrowers should bear in mind that all have equal claims 
to the use of the library, and each can only be attended to in turn. 

18. Printed catalogues may be purchased at the library ; and 
copies of the same, with a manuscript catalogue of the current 
additions, are placed on the library counter for reference. 

19. The Librarian will receive suggestions from readers as to 
any books they may consider desirable to be introduced into the 
library, and such suggestions will be submitted to the Committee 
for their consideration. 

20. Special attention is called to the following clause of 24 
and 25 Victoria, cap. xcvii. : — 

"Whosoever shall unlawfully and maliciously destroy or 
" damage any thing kept for the purposes of art, science, or 
" literature... in any. ..library. for the admission of the 
" public... shall be guilty of a misdemeanour, and, being duly 
" convicted thereof, shall be liable to be imprisoned for any 
" period not exceeding six months, with or without hard 

" ...Any person found committing any offence against 
" this Act may be immediately apprehended, without a 
" warrant, by any other person and forthwith taken before 
" some neighbouring Justice of the Peace, to be dealt with 
" according to law." 





ITH the exception of Christmas Day and Good 
Friday the Reference Library is open every 
day from 9 o'clock in the morning to 10 at 
night, and on Sundays from 2 to 9 p.m. It 
contains nearly 120,000 volumes, and there is sitting 
accommodation for about 200 persons. It is divided into 
two portions, the upper and lower reading rooms. In the 
upper reading room, which is one of the largest and finest 
rooms devoted to a like purpose in the country, any book 
or magazine possessed by the library may be consulted, 
but it is considered preferable that those kept in the lower 
reading room should be asked for there. The lower 
reading room is specially allotted to 

I. Specifications of Patents, of which a complete 
set, numbering about 7,000 volumes, and dating from 1617, 
is provided, and kept up to date by the addition of every 
specification as soon as it is received from the Patent 
Office. Space being imperatively needed for the ordinary 
accumulations of the library, the Patents have been 
temporarily transferred to the Deansgate Branch, where 
they can be consulted during the whole time that the library 
is open. 


In Manchester the only approach to a well-equipped 
library of specifications of patents is the patents' depart- 
ment of the Free Reference Library, which contains all 
the publications of the English Patent Office, though it is 
weak in the publications of foreign offices. The number 
of separate specifications is something like half a million. 
The specifications from 1652 to 1875 are classified by 
subjects, and those of later date are arranged in chrono- 
logical order. The specifications are made accessible by 
means of annual indexes of the names of patentees, and 
of the subject matter of the patents, and further help is 
given by the Abridgments of Specifications, which are handy 
volumes giving an outline of the purport of each specifica- 
tion. Some of the abridgments, unfortunately lose much 
of their value by not being brought up to date. In- 
dispensable to the searcher is the Patents' Journal, which 
contains lists of the most recent patents, information as to 
patents which have lapsed, and at times reports of patent 
law cases. Besides the English patents, there are, the 
Journal o{ the. United States Patent Office from 1856 to 
1 87 1 and from 1880 to the present year, and the complete 
specifications of United States patents have been filed 
since 1897. The number of patents issued each year in 
the United States is over twenty thousand, making about 
100 thick volumes annually. Of Canadian Patent Office 
publications, the library contains the Record irova 1873. 
A few publications of the Victorian, Queensland, and French 
Patent Offices are also in the collection. An important 
city like Manchester ought to have a patent library where 
the full specifications of every country could be consulted ; 
but the resources of the Free Libraries Committee are 
inadequate to the provision and maintenance of such a 
library, which would be very costly, even were the speci- 
fications themselves presented. 



2. Directories, English, 
others, as follows : — 

Foreign, Mercantile, and 


Altrincham, Bowdon, Sale, &c. 
Bedfordshire, Huntingdonshire, and 

Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, and 


Bristol and Clifton. 
Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, and Suffolk. 

Channel Islands. 
Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, 

Leicestershire, and Rutland. 
Devonshire and Cornwall. 
Durham, Northumberland, 

Westmorland, and Cumberland. 
Edinburgh and Leith. 
Essex, Hertfordshire, and Middlesex. 
Gloucestershire, Somersetshire, and 

City of Bristol. 
Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorsetshire, 

and Channel Islands. 
Herefordshire and Shropshire. 
Isle of Man. 

Kent, Surrey, and Sussex. 

Leicestershire and Rutland (Wright's). 


Levenshulme, Heaton Chapel, &c. 

Lincolnshire and Hull. 

Liverpool (Gore's). 

Liverpool and Birkenhead (Kelly's). 


London Suburbs. 

Manchester, Salford, and Suburbs. 

Monmouthshire and South Wales. 


North Shields, South Shields, Jarrow, 
Sunderland, Gateshead. 


Nottingham and District (Wright's). 

Nottinghamshire (White's). 


Prestwich, Eccles, Patricroft, &c. 



Southport and Birkdale (Slater's). 


Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Worces- 

Wales, North and Mid. 

Warrington, St. Helen's, and Widnes. 


York (White's). 

Yorkshire West Ridings. 

,, North and East Ridings. 




Argus Annual and South African 

Australia — 

West Australia. 

South Australia. 

New South Wales. 



New South Wales (Hall's)* 
Basel, Adressbuch. 

British Columbia. 
British Guiana. 

China, Japan, Straits Settlements, 

France f P^Partments. 

C Etranger. 

New York City. 
New Zealand. 
Rio de Janeiro. 
South Africa. 



FOREIGN AND Q,0\.0^lh\..—Conti7tued. 
Singapore and Straits Settlements. 




Turkey (Annuaire Oriental). 

United States. 




Advertiser's A. B.C. 

Advertising, practical. 

American Textile and Dry Goods 

Architect's Compendium. 
Atlantic Cable Code Directory. 
Banking Almanac. 
Business Diary, and Trade Directory 

Birmingham Trades Directory (Peck's). 
Buyers Guide (Crane's). 
Booksellers, Publishers, and Authors. 
Booksellers (Clegg's). 
Building Trades. 
Chemical Diary (Wood's). 
Clothing District. 
Cotton Spinners and Manufacturers 

Cabinet, Furniture, and Upholstery 

Chemists and Druggists. 
Co-operative Wholesale Societies 

Denmark Handels— Kalender. 
Directory of Directors. 
Dock and Port Charges. 
Electrical Trades. 
Electrical Directory (Berly's). 
Electrical Undertakings, Manual of 

Engineer's Diary. 
Engineers, Iron and Metal Trades. 
English Directory (Macdonald's). 
Export Merchant Shippers. 
Financial Reform Almanack. 
France, Annuaire, de la Marine de 

Gas and Electric Lighting Works 

German Textile Directory. 
Grocery, Oil &-Colour,Confectionery, 

Tobacco and Provision Trades. 
Insurance Blue Book and Guide. 
Insurance Directory. 
Keramischen Industrie Adressbuch. 
Labour Annual. 
Laxton's Builders' Price Book. 
London and County Trades Directory. 
London Business (Morris's). • 
Manchester Royal Exchange Directory. 

Manufacturers and Merchants 


Mercantile Directory (Wilson's). 

Merchants and Manufacturers 

Merchants, Manufacturers, and Ship- 
pers of Lancashire. 

Merchants, Manufacturers, and Ship- 
pers (Kelly's). 

Merchants, Manufacturers, and Ship- 
pers (Stubbs'). 

Mining Manual. 

Mining Register. 

Nautical Almanac. 

Newspaper Press Directory. 

Post INIagazine Almanac. 

Railway and Commercial Gazetteer. 

Railway Goods Traffic and Carrying 

Railway Stations Handbook. 

Scottish Directory (Macdonald's). 

Shareholders Guide. 

Shipping Register. 

Shipping World Year Book. 

Shorthand and Typewriting Year 

Stationers, Printers, Publishers, Book- 
sellers, and Paper Makers. 

Stock Exchange Year Book. 

Stock Exchange Official Intelligence. 

Stock and Shareholders Directory. 

Telegraphic Addresses (Sell's). 

Telegraphic Code (Slater's). 

Telegraphic Code (ABC). 

Telegram Code (Ager's). 

Textile Directory, Yorkshire. 

Textile Diary (Woods). 

Textile Directory, Europe. 

Textile Directory, Ireland, Scotland, 
and Wales. 

Textile Fabrics, Manufacturers. 

Watch and Clock Trades. 

Wine and Spirit Trades, Brewers, and 

World's Press (Sell's). 

Wright's Australian, Indian, &c., 
Trades Directory. 






Institute of Chartered Accountants,, &c. 

Jamaica IlainHjook. 
fewish Year Book. 

"Kelly's Titled, Landed, and Official 

Lancashire Congregational Calendar. 

Law List. 

Local (jovernment Directory. 

London Manual. 

Manchester Diocesan Directory. 

Manchester Official Handbook. 

Medical Directory. 

Medical Register. 

Municipal Year Book. 

Musical Directory. 

Naval Annual. 

Naval and Military Directory. 

Navy List. 

Natal Civil Service List. 

Parliamentary Companion. 

Public Schools Year Book. 

School Calendar. 

Scientific and Learned Societies Year 

Society of Accountants Bye- Laws, &c. 

Statesman's Year Book. 

Thom's Official Directory 

Wesleyan Minutes of Conference. 

Whitaker's Almanac. 

World Almanac. 

Year's Music. 

Year's Art. 

Any directory likely to be of value to the commercial 
community is added when it appears, and new editions of 
those already taken are obtained as soon as issued. Back 
volumes of many of them are also preserved, the most 
important sets being that of Manchester, dating from 
the first directory issued by Mrs. Raffald, in 1771, and 
coming down to the present time, and those of London, 
Liverpool, and Dublin. 

3. Newspaper Files. — Files of the following Man- 
chester newspapers for the dates affixed, but many of the 
earlier volumes are incomplete : — 

Army List, Official. 

Army List (Hart's.) 

Almanach de Gotha. 

Baptist Handbook. 

British Almanac. 

British Imperial Calendar and Civil 
Service List. 

Cape of Good Hope Civil Service 

Catholic Directory. 

Charities of London (Low's). 

Charities of London (Lane's). 

Charities Annual Register and Digest. 

Church of England Year Book. 

Clergy List. 

Clerical Directory. 

Colonial Office List. 

Constitutional Year Book. 

Congregational Year Book. 

County Councils, Municipal Corpora- 
tions, and Local Authorities 

Debrett's House of Commons and 
Judicial Bench. 

Debrett's Peerage, &c. 

Englishwoman's Year Book. 

Era Annual. 

Essex Hall Year Book. 

Foreign Office List. 

Hazell's Annual. 

Hospitals and Charities (Burdett's). 

India List. 

Manchester Magazine, 1737-60. 
Lancashire Journal, 1738-40 


Manchester Chronicle, 


NEWSPAPER YW.Y.'i. — Continuul. 

Harrop's Mercury, 1754-1821. WeeklyGuardian and Express, 1860-3. 

Prescott's Manchester Journal, 1738-40. Weekly Times and Supplement, 
Wheeler's Chronicle, 1791-3. 1808-13, 1862-99. 

1817-23, 1826, 1833-42. City News, 1864-99. 

Herald, 1792-3. Daily Journal, 1867. 

Cowdroy'i-- Gazette, 1796-1827. Gazette and Advertiser, 1873-4. 

Exchange Herald, 1809-26. Evening News, 1873-99. 

British Volunteer, 1814-15, 1819. Evening Mail, 1874-99. 

Courier, 1817-19. Weekly Post, 1875-87. 

Observer, 1818-21. Courier Supplement, 1882-99. 

Guardian, 1821-99. North Times. 1882. 

Courier, 1825-99. Morning Star, 1882. 

Times, 182S-31, 1833-7. Latest News, 18S2. 

Advertiser, 1833-41, 1843-4, 1854-60. Umpire, 1884-99. 

Chronicle, 1839-41. Sunday Chronicle, 1885-99. 

Examiner and Times, 1847-52, Evening Chronicle, 1897-9. 

1857-94. Herald, 1899. 
Alliance News, 1854-99. 

There is also a file of the Times from the beginning of 

the century, and a nearly complete set of the London 

Gazette from 1665. 

4. Parliamentary Papers. — The Parliamentary 
Papers, as issued by the Government from time to time 
during the Session, are purchased. A collection of these, 
extending to some 2,500 volumes, and dating from the 
beginning of the century, is also on the shelves, but for 
dates previous to the year 1883 it is very incomplete. 

5. Reviews, Magazines, and Newspapers.— Of 
these a large number are taken, and the following is 
the present list. D, signifies daily ; W, weekly ; F, 
fortnightly ; M, monthly ; Q, quarterly. The bound 
volumes of these periodicals, of which complete sets, in 
most cases, are in the library, may be consulted in this 
room. The publications of many Societies are also added 
to the library as they are issued. 

Abolitionist (M.) American Journal of Science (M.) 

Academy (W.) Analyst (M.) 

Alliance News (W.) Anglia (Q.) 

Alpine Journal (O.) Beiblatt (M.) 

American Architect (W.) Anglo-Saxon (Q. ) 

American Historical Review (Q,) Annals of Botany (Q.) 




Anthropologic, L' (M.) 

Anticiuarisk tidskrift for Sverige (Q. ) 

Antiquary (M.) 

Archrelogical Journal ((^>. ) 

Architect (W.) 

Architecture (M.) 

Army and Navy Gazette (W.) 

Artist (M.) 

Art Journal (M.) 

Arte Italiana Decorativa e 

Industriale (M.) 
Asiatic Quarterly Review (Q.) 
Athenaeum (W.) 
Atlantic Monthly (M.) 
Author (M.) 

Badminton Magazine (M.) 
Beitrage zur Assyriologie (Q.) 
Berichte der Osterreichischen Gesell- 

schaft zur forderung der Chemis- 

chen Industrie (M ) 
Berks, Bucks, and Oxon Archa;- 

logical Journal (Q. ) 
Berliner Architekturwelt. 
Bibliotheca Sacra (Q.) 
Bimetallist (M.) 
Black and White (W. ) 
Blackwood's Magazine (M.) 
Board of Trade Journal (M.) 
Bookman (M.) 
Book-Prices Current (Q.) 
Bookseller (M.) 
Boston Public Library Monthly 

Bulletin (M.) 
Botanical Magazine (M.) 
British Architect (W.) 
British Journal of Photography (W. ) 
British Medical Journal (W. ) 
Brotherhood (M!) 
Bugle Call (M.) 
Builder (W. 1 
Building News (W.) 
Bulletin de 1' Institut International de 

Statistique (Q.) 
Bulletin de la Societe (ieologique de 

France (M.) 
Bulletin de la Societe Industrielle de 

Mulhouse (M.) 
Bulletin de la Societe Industrielle de 

Rouen (M.) 
Bulletin de Statistique et de Legis- 
lation comparee (M.) 
Bulletin of the American Geographical 

Society (Q.) 
Cabinet Maker (M.) 
Canadian Patent Record (M.) 
Cardiff Public Library Journal (Q.) 
Cassier's Magazine (M.) 

Centralblatt fiir Bibliothekswesen(M.) 
Century Magazine (M.) 
Chaml)ers' journal (M.) 
Chemical News (W. ) 
Chemical Trade Journal (W. ) 
Chemicker Zeitung (M.) 
Cheshire Notes and Queries (Q.) 
Church Missionary Intelligencer (M.) 
Church Quarterly Review (Q.) 
Churchman (M.) 
Classical Review (M.) 
Colliery Guardian (W.) 
Commerce (W. ) 
Contemporary Review (M.) 
Contract Journal (W. ) 
Cook's Excursionist (M.) 

Ocean Sailing List (Q.) 

Co-operative News (W. ) 
Cornhill Magazine (M.) 
Cosmopolitan (M.) 
Cotton (W.) 

Cotton Factory Times (W.) 
Dania. Tidskrift for Dansk sprog og 
Litteratur samt Folkeminder (Q.) 
Deutsche kunst und dekoration (M.) 
Deutsche Rundschau (^I.) 
Dingler's Polytechnisches Journal (W.) 
Dublin Review (Q. ) 
Dyers' Trade Journal (M.) 
East Anglian (M.) 
East Lancashire Review (M. ) 
Economic Journal (Q.) 
Economist (W. ) 
Edinburgh Review (Q.) 
Educational Review (M.) 
Educational Times (M.) 
Electrican (W. ) 
Engineer (W. ) 
Engineering (W. ) 
Engineering Magazine (M.) 
English Catalogue of Books (M. ) 
English Historical Review (Q.) 
English Illustrated Magazine (M.) 
Englische Studien (Q. ) 
English Mechanic (W.) 
Entomologist (M.) 

Entomologist's Monthly Magazine (M.) 
Era (W.) 

Espana Moderna (M.) 
Estates Gazette (W.) 
Evening Student (M.) 
Expositor (M.) 
Field (W. ) 

Financial Reformer (M.) 
Financial Times (D.) 
Folk- Lore (().) 
Fortnightly Review (M.) 



Forum (M.) 

Free Sunday Advocate (M.) 
Gardeners' Chronicle (W.) 
Gardening (W.) 
Gas World (W.) 
Genealogical Magazine (M.) 
Genealogist (Q.) 
Gentleman's Magazine (M.) 
Geographical Journal (M.) 
Geography (M.) 
Geological Magazine (M.) 
Giornale Dantesco (M.) 

AND NEWSPAPERS.— Co«//k?<^^. 

Journal of the British Archreological 
Association (Q.) 

Journal of the Chemical Society 

Journal of the Ex-libris Society (M.) 

Journal of the Institute of Bankers 

Journal of the Institution of Electrical 
Engineers (M.) 

Journal of the Linnean Society. 

Journal of the Manchester Geo- 
graphical Society (Semi-annual). 

Gloucestershire Notes and Queries (Q.) Journal of the Royal Agricultural 

Good Words (M.) Society (Q.) 

Graphic (VV.) Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 

Grocers' Review (W.) (M.) . 

Guardian (W.) Journal of the Royal Colonial Insti- 

Harper's Monthly (M.) tute (M.) 

Harvest (M.) Journal of the Royal Microscopical 

Homoepathic Review (M.) Society (Bi-M.) 

Hong Kong Government Gazette (W.) Journal of the Society of Arts (W_.) 

Horological Journal (M.) 

Humanity (M.) 


Idler (M.) 

Illustrated London News (W.) 

Imperial Institute Journal (M.) 

Index Library (Q.) 

Industrie Textile (M.) 

Industries and Iron (W.) 

Inquirer (VV.) 

Institul International de Bibliographic. Law Times (W.) 

Journal of the Society of Chemical 

Industry (M.) 
Kew Gardens Bulletin (M.) 
Knowledge (M.) 
Labour Gazette (M.) 
Labour Co-Partnerships. 
Lancashire County Council Proceed- 

Lancet (W.) 
Law Quarterly Review (Q.) 

Bulletin (Q.) 
Intermediaire L' (F.) 
International Journal of Ethics (Q.) 
International Sugar Journal. 
Internationales Archiv fiir Ethno- 

graphie (M.) 
Investor's Monthly Manual (M.) 
Investors' Review (W.) 
Iron and Coal Trades Review (W. ) 
Iron and Steel Trades Journal (W.) 
Jewish Quarterly Review ((^ ) 
Journal des Economistes (M.) 
Journal of Americn Folk-lore (Q.) 
Journal of Botany (M.) 
Journal of Education (M.) 
Journal or Gas Lighting (W.) 
Journal of Indian Art (Q.) 
Journal of Philology (Q.) 
Journal of Physiology (Q.) 
Journal of Political Economy (Q. ) 
Journal of State Medicine (S\.) 
Journal of the Anthropological Insti- 
tute (Q.) 
Journal of the Board of Agriculture 

Liberator (M.) 
Liberty Review (^L) 
Library (M.) 
Library Assistant (M.) 
Library Journal (M.) 
Libraiy World (M.) 
Lincolnshire Notes and (Queries (Q.). 
literary Guide (M.) 
Literary News (M.) 
Literary World (W.) 
Literature (W.) 
Liverpool Mercury (D.) 
Liverpool Shipping Telegraph (D.) 
Local Government Journal (W.) 
Local Government Chronicle (W.) 
London Gazette (Semi-W.) 
London Quarterly Review (Q.) 
Longman's Magazine (M.) 
Machinery (M.) 
Machinery Market (M.) 
Macmillan's Magazine (M.) 
Magazine of Art (M.) 
Magazine of Natural History (M.) 
Manchester Chamber of Commerce 
Monthly Record (M.) 



REVIEWS, MAGAZINES, AND liY,\N'iVA?V.R?>.— Continued. 

IManchester City Council Proceedings 

Manchester City Council Proceedings, 
Epitome (M.) 

Manchester City News (W.) 

Manchester Courier (D.) 

Manchester Entertainments Pro- 
gramme (W.) 

Manchester Evening Chronicle (D.) 

Manchester Evening Mail (D.) 

Manchester Evening News (D.) 

Manchester Faces and Places (M.) 

Manchester Guardian (D.) 

Manchester Herald (W. ) 

Manchester Journal of Commerce(D.) 

Manchester Local Postal Guide (M.) 

Manchester Quarterly (Q.) 

Manchester Royal Infirmary Students' 
Gazette (M.) 

Manchester Weekly Health Returns 

Manchester Weekly Times ( W. ) 

Mariner (M.) 

Mechanical Engineer (W.) 

Mechanical World (W.) 

Medical Chronicle (M.) 

Memoirs and Proceedings of the Man- 
chester Literary and Philosphical 
Society (Q.) 

Meteorological Magazine (M.) 

Mind (Q.) 

Mineralogical Magazine (Q.) 

Mining and Engineering (M.) 

Mining Journal (W.) 

Minutes of Proceedings of the Institu- 
tion of Civil Engineers (Q.) 

Miscellanea Genealogica et Heraldica 


Modern Quarterly of Language and 
Literature (Q. ) 

Monde Moderne (M.) 

Money Market Review (W.) 

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astron- 
omical Society (M.) 

Municipal Journal and London (W. ) 

Musical Herald (M.) 

Musical Times (M.) 

Nation [New York] (W.) 

Nationalokonomisk Tidsskrift (Q.) 

National Review (M.) 

Natural Science (M.) 

Naturalist (M.) 

Nature (W.) 

Nature Notes (M.) 

Navy List ((^).) 

New Book List (and Cumulative 
Index) (M.) 

New Church Magazine (M.) 

New England Genealogical and 

Historical Register ((^.) 
New Ireland Review (M.) 
New World (Q. ) 
New York Public Library Bulletin 

Nineteenth Century (M.) 
North American Review (M.) 
Northern Churchman (M.) 
Northern Finance and Trade (W. ) 
Northern Genealogist (Q.) 
Notes and Queries (W. ) 
Numismatic Chronicle (Q. ) 
Nuova Antologia (F. ) 
Oddfellows' Magazine (M.) 
Oxford Shorthand Chronicle (M.) 
Orient (M.) 

Owens College Union Magazine (M.) 
Pall Mall Magazine (M). 
Paper Maker (M.) 
Patents : Illustrated Official Journal 

Patents : Law Reports (W.) 
Patents: United States Official Gazette 

Petermann's Mitteilungen (M.) 
Pharmaceutical Journal (W.) 
Philosophical Magazine (M.) 
Phonetic Journal (W.) 
Photographic Record (Q.) 
Phrenological Magazine (M.) 
Polybiblion, Revue Bibliographique 

Universelle (M.) 
Portfolio (Q.) 
Positivist Review (M.) 
Post Office Guide (Q.) 
Proceedings of the Institute of 

Mechanical Engineers ((^. ) 
Proceedings of the Malacological 

Society (Q.) 
Proceedings of the Royal Society (M. ) 
Proceedings of the Society of Biblical 

Archaeology (M.) 
Public Health (M.) 
Public Libraries (M.) 
Publishers' Circular (W.) 
Punch (W.) 

Quarterly Journal of Economics (Q.) 
(Quarterly Journal of Microscopical 

Science (Q. ) 
Quarterly Journal of the Geological 

Society (Q.) _ 

Quarterly Publications of the 

American Statistical Association, 

(Quarterly Review ((^.) 




Quarterly Report of Births , Marriages, 

and Deaths (Q.) 
Queensland Government Gazette (M. ) 
Railway Guides : 

Bradshaw's [id. and 6d.] (M.) 

Cheetham's (M.) 

Continental Bradshaw (M.) 

Haywood's (M.) 

Simni's (M.) 
Railway News (W.) 
Record of Technical and Secondary 

Education (Q.) 
Reformer (M.) 
Reliquary and Illustrated Archaeologist 


Review of Reviews (M.) 

Revue Celtique (Q.) 

Revue des Deux Mondes (F.) 

Rivista d'ltalia (M.) 

Ross's Parliamentary Record (W. ) 

St. Louis Public Library Magazine 

Salem Public Library Bulletin (M.) 
Salford Chronicle (W.) 
Salford Council Proceedings (M.) 
Salford Reporter (W.) 
Sanitary Inspector (M. ) 
Sanitary Record (W.) 
Saturday Review (W. ) 
School Board Chronicle (W. ) 
School Board Gazette (M.) 
Science Gossip (M.) 
Science of Man (M.) 
Science Work (M.) 
Scientific American (W.) 
Scottish Antiquary (Q.) 
Scottish Review (Q. ) 
Scribner's Magazine (M.) 
Script Phonographic Journal (M.) 
Shorthand Magazine (M.) 

Sketch (W.) 

South Australian Government Gazette 

Speaker (W.) 
Spectator (W.) 
Statist (W.) 

Stonyhurst Magazine (M.) 
Strand Magazine (M.) 
Student's Journal [Graham's Standard 

Phonography] (M.) 
Studio (M.) 

Sunday Chronicle (W.) 
Tablet (W.) 

Textile Manufacturer (M.) 
Textile Mercury (W.) 
Textile Recorder (M.) 
Textile Review of America (M.) 
Times (D.) 

Trade Journals' Review (M.) 
Trade Marks Journal (W.) 
Transactions " of the Manchester 

Geological Society (M.) 
Truth (W.) 

Ueber Land und Meer ( F.) 
Ulster Journal of Archseology (Q. ) 
Ulula ("M.) 
Umpire (W.) 

University Correspondent (W.) 
Vaccination Inquirer (M.) 
Vegetarian Messenger (M.) 
Weekly Return of Births and Deaths 

in London, &c. (W.) 
West Ham Library Notes (M.) 
Western Australia Government 

Gazette (F.) 
Westminster Review (M.) 
What's On (W.) 
Windsor Magazine (M.) 
V.M.C.A. Bee-Hive (M.) 
Zoologist (XJ.) 

The Reference Library contains a few manuscripts, 
some interesting specimens of early printing, and a number 
of rare books, but the strength of the collection lies in 
the modern and standard works, which include many 
important and costly illustrated books on architecture, 
botany, decoration and design, painting and sculpture, and 
the fine arts generally ; as well as the best books in history, 
archaeology, topography, science, mechanical arts, politics, 
theology, poetry, and other departments of literature. 


Some of the manuscripts possess considerable interest. 
A list of them together with a description of the more 
remarkable follows. I am indebted to Mr. Ernest Axon 
for the account of the Owen and Hibbert-Ware 

The Owen collection of manuscripts is one of the 
most remarkable collections of material for local history 
ever got together by one man. Mr. John Owen has for 
something like sixty years devoted his time to transcribing 
parish registers and copying monumental inscriptions, 
and the eighty folio volumes of the Owen MSS. represent 
the life work of that veteran antiquary, whose hobby has 
earned him the not inappropriate name of " Old Mortality." 
Perhaps the most important of the volumes are those 
relating to rhe Collegiate Church or Cathedral of Man- 
chester. These include a verbatim transcript of the first 
two hundred years of the voluminous parish register, 
which together with an alphabetical index, occupies some 
twenty volumes. A valuable supplement to the register 
is a copy of the sexton's book which gives the age and 
cause of death of the persons buried at the Collegiate 
Church during part of the last century. Another Collegiate 
Church item is a transcript of every inscription on the 
walls of the church, in the vaults under the church, and in 
the churchyard. This collection of inscriptions is and 
must remain unique for many of the inscriptions have 
become worn or have been covered over since Mr. Owen's 
transcript was made. Many of the gravestones are drawn 
in facsimile and a large number are annotated with 
extracts from the registers. Mr. Owen's interests have 
not been confined to genealogical matters for he gives a 


diary of discoveries made during the restoration of the 
Cathedral, which he illustrates with numerous sketches of 
architectural details. The collection also includes abstracts 
of 6i8 leases from the Warden and Fellows which throw 
considerable light on local history. In addition to the 
Cathedral inscriptions the collection contains copies of 
each gravestone inscription in almost every other Man- 
chester and Salford church and chapel yard, including 
those in several burial grounds which have been built 
upon or covered over and turned into " open spaces." 
Besides Manchester inscriptions the collection includes 
the whole of those in the various burial grounds of 
Stockport, most of those of Ashton-under-Lyne, those in 
the parish churchyards of Bolton, Bowdon, Middleton, 
Didsbury, Prestwich, Northenden, Flixton, Rostherne and 
indeed of a large proportion of the graveyards in the 
neighbourhood of Manchester. In some of these church- 
yards the inscriptions are very numerous, Mr. Owen 
having transcribed over 2,000 from St. John's, Manchester, 
and over 3,000 from the Bolton Parish Church. Then 
there are verbatim transcripts of long series of years of 
the parish registers of Flixton, Warrington, Bolton, and 
Newton Heath, and voluminous extracts from many other 
local registers. Amongst the miscellaneous items are 
transcripts of eighteenth century overseers' accounts for 
Hulme, Chorlton, and Manchester, notes on the history of 
Stretford and Stockport, careful descriptions and beautiful 
drawings of local churches and old houses, notes on clock 
makers and surgeons, gravestone inscriptions from distant 
places relating to Manchester people, and extensive notes 
on the more important Manchester families of the sixteenth 
to eighteenth centuries. All the volumes mentioned so 
far are in Mr. Owen's particularly neat handwriting, and 
their contents are rendered easily accessible by means of 


alphabetical indexes. Besides the Owen MSS. proper the 
collection contains a volume of local antiquarian cuttings, 
and also a late seventeenth century original manuscript 
giving the receipts and expenditure of Richard Syddal as 
administrator of John Browne of Bramhall. This 
document contains details of expenditure which should 
make it of considerable value to the student of prices. 
Although Mr. Owen has in the past placed local antiquaries 
under obligations by the courtesy with which he placed 
his collections at their disposal, it is satisfactory to know 
that they are now in public custody and are accesible to 

Through the generosity of Mrs. Hibbert-Ware, of 
Bowdon, the library is enriched by the donation of the 
manuscript antiquarian collections of the late Dr. Samuel 
Hibbert-Ware. Dr. Hibbert-Ware was a member of the 
old Manchester mercantile family of Hibbert, was born in 
Manchester in 1782, and after serving as an officer in the 
militia settled in Edinburgh, where he resided for many 
of the best years of his life. He took the degree of M.D. 
in 1 8 17, and was an active Fellow of the Society of 
Antiquaries of Scotland and of the Royal Society of 
Edinburgh. Though he was a man of scientific tastes 
and abilities, Dr. Hibbert-Ware is now perhaps best 
remembered by his antiquarian work, in particular his 
" History of the Foundations in Manchester " deservedly 
taking a high rank as a local history. After leaving 
Edinburgh he resided for a time in York, but eventually 
returned to the neighbourhood of his native place, and 
settled on a small estate at Hale Barns, near Altrincham, 
and died in 1848. He had adopted his mother's name of 
Ware to denote his descent from Ware the historian of 
Ireland, and it is perhaps this descent that is accountable 


for the large number of Irish antiquities figuring in his 
manuscripts. The manuscripts consist of twelve quarto 
volumes. They contain memoranda made by Dr. Hibbert- 
Ware, all neatly mounted and classified, together with 
numerous illustrations, water colour, sepia, and black and 
white, principally by the late Mr. T. Hibbert-Ware, the 
eldest son of the Doctor and husband of Mrs. Hibbert- 
Ware. The first volume relates to Aboriginal Remains, 
Cromlechs, Things, Moats, and Weaponshaws. Many of 
the cromlechs are Irish, and the sketches are drawn by 
Captain Edward Jones, an old friend of Dr. Hibbert- 
Ware. As these sketches are at least sixty years old, 
and doubtless many changes have been made since they 
were drawn, they have great value for the student of 
archaeology. Other interesting features of this volume 
are the drawings of " Things," of which the best known 
example is the Tinwald Hill, in the Isle of Man. Volume 
two is devoted to weathered and detached rocks, the rocking 
stones of folk-lore, to primitive weapons, to raths and 
motes, most of them in Ireland, and to stone circles, of 
the familiar Stonehenge type, of which several Yorkshire 
examples are drawn. The third volume is occupied by 
the allied topics of memorial, compact, and boundary 
stones, coronation stones, caers and duns, burghs and 
tumuli. There are several views of the Devil's Arrows, at 
Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, drawn by Mr. Hibbert-Ware 
in 1835 and 1838, and of other Yorkshire pillars. Among 
the tumuli there are also several examples from Yorkshire. 
In the fourth volume are a portion of the Doctor's 
collections about one of his favourite subjects — vitrified 
forts — and also notes and drawings of Roman remains, 
amongst which is a drawing of an altar stone from 
Boughton, Cheshire, and drawings of several remains from 
Aldborough and York, of altars found at Lancaster, and 


of some antiquities then in the Manchester Museum. In 
the fifth volume are a number of Mr. T. Hibbert-Ware's 
beautiful drawings of crosses and inscribed stones in 
England, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. This subject is 
continued in the sixth volume, where the crosses are 
mostly of Irish workmanship. Saxon implements occupy 
a part of this volume. Ireland is again drawn upon for 
examples in the seventh volume, which contains many 
sketches of Irish Churches, but has also a few drawings of 
Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, and Lancashire churches. Of 
the latter the most noticeable is a careful drawing of 
Denton Chapel. An interesting series of views of round 
towers, chiefly in Ireland, is in the eighth volume, which 
has also sketches of fonts at Mottram, Eastham, Prestwich, 
Bury, Walton-on-the-Hill, and at many Yorkshire places. 
An interesting drawing in this volume is a view by Mr. 
Hibbert-Ware, of Smithy Door, Manchester, on the nth 
February, 1838, when this celebrated Manchester locality 
was apparently being pulled down. The ninth volume is 
of a very miscellaneous character, monumental effigies, 
churches, and prehistoric archaeology being each touched 
upon, and there are further notes on vitrified forts, 
together with a paper by Dr. Hibbert-Ware on that 
subject. The tenth volume is devoted to Scandinavian 
antiquities and to the History of Scotland. Architectural 
remains, chiefly Irish, and Cheshire Tithe Barns are the 
subjects of the eleventh volume. Dr. Hibbert-Ware was 
fond of Hale Barns, and especially of the Old Tithe Barn, 
and great was his distress when it was pulled down. 
Fortunately, some years before that event, he had made 
careful measurements of the barn, and his wife and 
Captain Jones had made drawings of both interior and 
exterior, and as the drawings are preserved with these 
manuscripts, we can get an idea of the size and importance 


of the building. The twelfth volume is largely occupied 
by Irish antiquities. The value of the Hibbert-Ware 
MSS. is mainly in the pictures, which are drawn with no 
little skill and artistic ability. 

The other manuscripts are — 

Account Book, Theatres Royal, Manchester and Liverpool. 1842. Fol. 
Anti-Corn Law League Letter Book, Dec, 1838, to Nov., 1840. Fol. 
Bailey, John Eglington. Index to Authors of University Poems. Fol. 
Banksian Society (Manchester). Minute Book, 1829-1836. 4to. 
Brotherton, Joseph. Commonplace Book. 1809. 4to. 
Bulkeley, E. W. Annals of Cheshire, A.D. 43-1885. In 7 boxes. 
Burgersdicius, Franciskus. In Isagoge Porphyrii et Aristotelis Universum 

Organum Commentarii. 1 61 7. .Sm. fol. 
Burton, Alfred, of Cheacile Huluie. Collections relating to Lancashire and 

Cheshire Antiquities and Genealogy. Fol. 12 vols. 
Butcher, Edmund. The Workman that needed not to be ashamed. A 

Sermon addressed to the Rev. J. H. Bransby, and to the congregation of 

Protestant Dissenters assembling at the New Chapel, Moreton Hampstead, 

on his undertaking the office of their stated minister, Sept. 30th, 1804. 

8vo. 18 leaves. 
Carlyle, Thomas, [Copy by Alex. Ireland of Carlyle's Note-book, 1822- 

1831.] 8vo. 
Carlyle, Thomas. [Copies of letteis from Carlyle to Robert Mitchell, 1814- 

1822.] 8vo. 

Carlyle, Thomas. [Copies of letters from Carlyle to Thomas Murray, 1818- 

1826.] 8vo. 
Carlyle, Thomas. [Note-book containing copies of, and extracts from, 

letters by Carlyle.] i2mo. 
Caryll, Joseph. Notes of Sermons preached by Joseph Caryl). Made by 

John Weld, senior, living on London Bridge. 1671-72. 8vo. 
Chalderinus, Repertorium Juridicum. Fol. 
Chftham's Hospital. A list of feoffees . . copied from a MS. lent to me [Sir 

Thos. Baker] by Benjamin Dennison Naylor. September, 1855. Sm. fol. 

Also contains an Account of the Manchester Literary Society. 
Chorlton Row Overseers' Accounts. 1722-1795. Fol. 

Collier, John, Tii}i Bobbin, and Collier, John, junior. Three Pocket- 
Collier, John, Tiui Bobbin. Correspondence. Transcript, with Notes, 

by Jesse Lee. 4to. 
Commonplace Book. Comprising extracts from Books and Newspapers. 

c. 1750-60. 
Conringius, H. Discursus de rebuspublicis principalioribus totius orbis 

excepta Germania. Also Forstner, C. Epistola de moderno imperii 

statu. Transcript. 4to. 
Coo'^Qt, ]. and yj., of Middletoti. Wills and Inventories. 1738. Copies. 4to. 
Dyeing Recipes. Sm. 4to. 
Eeuwige maen-almanach. 1634. 4to. 


Extracts from the Gentletnan's Magazine relating to Lancashire and Cheshire. 

1731-1867. 12 vols. 
Fraser, James, 1639-1699. A short account of the Life of Sir \_sic\ James 

Fraser, of Brae, written by himself. 4to. pp. 83. This was first printed 

at Edinburgh in 173S. The present is apparently an early MS. copy. 
Gasparinus. Orthographia Gasparini Bergamensis, etc. 1474. 40 leaves. 

Fol. On paper. 
Gorton Church. Registers, 1600-1809. Transcribed by J. Leigh. 4to. 
Harland, John. Manuscript collections for a History of Shorthand. 8 vols. 

in case. 
Hazlitt, William, f Miscellaneous sheets of MS., including a portion of the 

essay " On the Fear of Death."]. Yi. 22. 
Heap. A copy of the Survey of the Township of Heap [in parish of Bury] 

taken in February and March, 1792. Fol. 
Higson,John. Supplements to the "Gorton Historical Recorder." Transcribed 

by J. Leigh. 410. 
Hortulus Memorandum MS. ex Monasterio Dublini. [Circa, 1630]. 4ta 

120 leaves. 
Hunt, Isaac. [Hylema : 194 Maxims, Observations, Remarks, on Life, 

Duty, AL-inners, &c.] 1798. 4to. pp. loi. 
Hunt, J. H. Leigh. [Copy of a Review by Leigh Hunt of Dr. Robert 

Fellowes' "Religion of the Universe"]. Fol. pp. 11. Appai-ently 

Ireland, W. H. Shakspearian Fabrications. 1S02. 4to. 29 leaves. After- 

W. H. Ireland had conjessed the forgery of the Shakspeare Papers, Geo. 

Chalmers, author of the ^^ Apology for the Believers in the Shakspeai-e 

Papers" still remained incredtilous as to the possibility of the fabrication, 

and these documents were executed by h-eland to prove his ability in 

counterfeiting old manuscripts. The vol. also coniains one of the rare 

handbills distributed at the door of Drury Lane Theatre on the nigh; 

when " Vortigern " was produced. 
Isle of Man. Copie of all Ordinances, Statutes, and Customs reputed and 

used for lawes in the Land of Mann, confirmed by the Honble. Sr. John 

Stanley. With the supposed true Cronicle of the Island, how and by 

whom ruled from Mannanan to this present year 1732. Fol. 
Jones, Ernest. [Diary 1839-47. Professional Diary 1860-66. Legal 

Memorandum Book.]. 5 vols. 
Lancashire Public School Association. [Minutes 1S48-62. Letters 1S4S-57. 

Newspaper Cuttings]. 8 vols. 
Lee, Jesse. Glossary of Lancashire Words and Phrases. Svo. 
Lee, Jesse. Heraldica Lancastria. 1826. Svo. 
Lee, Jesse. Memoir of John Collier, Tim Bobbin. Read at a meeting 

of the Literary and Philosopliical Society of Manchester, 15th October, 

1839. 4to. Extended uiith further MS. matter. 
Lee, Jesse. Notes on John Collier, Tim Bobbin. Svo. 2 vols. 
Leigh, J. Memoranda relating to the Family of Lever. 4to. 
Lucidarius. [German transcript, or copy from an earlier MS.], 14S2. 

Madden, Sir Frederick. Original draft of paper on Perkin Warlieck, read 

before the Society of Antiquaries on the 6th, 13th, and 20th April, 1S37,. 

and subsequently printed in " Archreologia." Fol. 
Manchester, All Saints Church, Funeral Book, 1837-1S4S. Fol. 


Manchester, Mosley St. Club Room. [Minutes 1795-1850. Strangers' 

Book. Cash Book, 1842-50.] 5 vols. 
Manchester Parliamentary Representation Committee, Minute Book, 

1827-28. Fol. 
Manchester Post Office Site. Leaflets, Newspaper Cuttings, Letters, and 

other Documents. 1858-1859. Fol. 
Manchester, Presbyterian Classis, Minutes 1646- 1700. Fol. Transcript. 
Manchester, St. Ann's Church, Registers, 1736- 1808. Transcribed by 

J. Leigh. Sm. 4to. 
Manchester, St. Mary's Church, Registers 1754-1S71. Transcribed by J. 

Leigh. Fol. and 410. 2 vols. 
Manchester, Saturday Half-Holiday, Original Signed Agreement. 1S43. 
MSS. in the Shorthand Collection. 91 vols. 
Massie, William. A Sermon preached at Trafford in Lancashire at the 

marriage of a daughter of the Right Worshipfull Sir Edmond Trafforde, 

knight, the 6 of September, Anno 1586. Oxford, 1586. Transcript. 
Mendelssohn, F, Lauda Sion. [The music and Latin words in the 

composer's own hand ; the English words in the hand of Wm. 

Bartholomew, who adapted them to' the music] 4to. 
Miller, Thomas. MS. of " Royston Gower." Fol. 
Mission, M. An Account of the Travels of Mr. Walgrave Crewe, on the 

Continent of Europe, in 1694-5, i"^ ^ Letter to his Mother. r2mo. pp. 144. 
Monstiers, J- de. Description du pays Descosse. Imprime a Paris, 1538. 

8vo. Tra7iscript. 
Mosley MS. MS. Volume kept by several of the Mosley Family, chiefly in 

their Capacity as Magistrates in the i6th and 17th Centuries. Sm. fol. 

With transcript. 
JMurray, Thomas, and Others. [Copies of Letters from Thomas Murray, 

Robert Mitchell, James Johnston, John Edward Hill, and Francis Dickson 

to Thomas Carlyle, 1813-1826]. 8vo. 
Newton Heath Rate Books, 1819-1837, 15 vols. 
Noble, James. Article on Leigh Hunt, Lord Byron, and "The Liberal." 

1882. pp. 55. 
Osborn, W. A Plan of Mathematical Learning, Taught in the Royal 

Academy at Portsmouth. Executed by William Osborn, a Student there. 

1769. Fol. 
Persian, MSS. [Sherah Akaad. Gulistan-i-Sadi. Bostan-i-Sadi. Kimiyae 

Saadat (on ethics) ]. 8vo. 4 vols. 
VooXt, ]o\\r\, Far»ter, of A ikri7igton or Middleton. Diary, 1774-7S. Fob 
Pott, Percivall, F.R.S., Senior Surgeon to St. Bartholomew's Hospital. 

Chirurgical Lectures. Transcript. 
Savoy, House of. MS. on paper, in Italian, containing: — i. An Account 

of the Origin and Progress of the House of Savoy. By the Venetian 

Ambassador to the Court of Turin. Written in 1742. pp. 158. 

2. History of the Abdication of the King of Sardinia, Victor Amadeus. 

By a Contemporary. [Query N. N. Lamberti. See CEttinger, " Biblio- 
graphic Biographique," p. 678]. pp. 36. Fol. Transcript. 
Stockport Parish Registers, 1584- 1646. Transcribed by E. W. Bulkeley. 

Sm. 4to. 3 vols. 
Stout, William, of Lancaster. Autobiography, 1665-1752. pp. 150. 

This was Edited by John Harla^id, and printed in iSji. 
Tootell, R.L Analyses of Coals. 1889. Fol. 


Turner, Thomas, Sitrgeon, of Manchester. Various Medical MSS., Notes of 

Lectures, etc., also Copies of Letters, &c. written by Lieutenant C. 

\V. Turner, in India, 1809-1819. 
Varey, John. Cash Book, 1780- 1786. i2mo. 
Waugh, Edwin. Unpublished Pieces, Verse, and Prose, and other MSS. 

Whitaker James, of Manchester. Account of the Agitation for the Repeal 

of the Fustian Act. 1784-85. 4to. 
White, fames. Original Letters, ct^c, of Sir John Falstaffand his Friends. 

i2ni'o. MS. Transcript, with printed Facsimile Title, of ist Edit., 

Land. , ijgb. 


The titles of the books in the library printed before 
1520, arranged in chronological order, and of a selection 
of other rare or curious works, arranged alphabetically, 
are as follows : — 

Biblia Latina. [Old Testament.] Basil. Richel. I473- 
Bible en Duytsche, Delf. 1477. 
Carchano, M. de M. Sermones. Basils. 1479. 
Valla, Lau. De Lingure Latince elegantia. Venet. 14S0. 
Voragine, J. de. Legenda sanctorum. 1481. 
Biblia. " Fontibus ex GrKcis, &c." 1481. 
Statuta Provincialia Dioecesis Constantiensis. Spirse. 1482. 
The Golden Legend, ist edit. Westminster : Wm. Caxton. 1483. 
Parentinis, B. de. Lilium siue elucidarius difficultatum circa officium misse. 

Colon. 1484. 
Guido de Monte Rocherii. Manipulus curatorum. 1484. 
Platina. Vitse Pontificum. Venet. 1485. 
Rolewinck, W. Fasciculus temporum. Argent. 1488. 
Seneca, L. A. Opera Omnia. Venet. 1492. 
Passionael : unde dat Levend der Hylghen. Lubeck. 1492. 
Augustine, St. A. Liber epistolarum. Basil. 1493- 
Schedel, H. Nuremberg Chronicle. 1493. Fol. 
Caoursin, G. Obsidionis Rhodie urbis descriptio. Ulmre. 1496. 
Cleonidas. Harmonicum introductorium. [Also in the same volume works 

by other writers.] Venet. 1497. 
Chronicles of England. Westminster : Wynkyn de Worde. 1497- 
Ovidius. Epistol^e Heroides. Venet. 1497. 
Celsus, A. C. Medicinae liber primus. Venet. 1497. 
Hugo de S. Charo. Postillie in totam Bibliam. [Vols. 3 and 4.] Basil. 

Dionysius Areopagita, Opera. Paris. 1498. 
Plautus, M.A. Comoedite. Mediolani. 1500. 
Boethius. De Consolatione Philosophise. Argent. 1501. 


Plinius Cfficilius Secundus. Epistolce. Venet. 1501. 

Guarinus, Veronensis. Vocabularius breviloquus. Argent. 1501. 

Manliis, J. J. de. Luminare maius. Venet. 1504. 

Aristoteles. De Coelo et Mundo [and other works.] Lyptzigk. 1504-7. 

Valerius Maximus. Factorum et dictorum. Liptz. 1506. 

Nestor Dionysius. Vocabula. Argent. 1507. 

Mantuanus, B. Bucolica. Argent. 1507. 

Porretanus, G. Liber sex-principiorum. Liptz. 1507. 

Cicero, M. T. De Amicitia. Lyptzigk. 1507. 

Cicero, M. T. Epistolae ad familiares. Liptzigk. 1507. 

Gregorius Nazianzenus. Libelli. Argent. 1508. 

Lactantius, L. C. F. Opera. Venet. 1509. 

Andreas, A. Scripta. Venet. 1509. 

Statuta Ordinis Cartusiensis a Domno Guigone. Basil. 15 10. 

Plinius Secundus. Historia Naturalis. Paris. 151 1. 

Origen. Opera Omnia. Paris. 15 12. 2 vols. 

Despauterius, J. Rudimenta grammatices. Colonire. 1512. 

Eusebius. Eusebii Csesariensis Episcopi Chronicon. Paris. 1512. 

Eusebius. Ecclesiastica historia. Argent. 1514. 

Damianus, J. Expeditio in Turcas. Basil: Froben. 1515. 

Cato. Praecepta moralia, etc. Argent. 15 16. 

Hutten, U. von. Nemo. Aug. Vindel. 1518. 

Irenceus, F. Germanias exegesis. Hagse. 15 18. 

Bromyard, J. de. Summa predicantium. Norimbergae. 151S., D. Farrago nova epistolarum. Basil: Froben. 1519. 

Augustine, St. A. Psaultier de Dauid. Paris. 15 19. 


Ainsworth, W. Harrison, The Boeotian. 1824. Nos. 1-6, all published. 
8vo. Ainswortli's own copy. 

Baines, Edward. History of the County Palatine of Lancaster. Lond. 
1836. 4 vols. Extended to 10 vols, by MS., printed and pictorial 
additions, by Jesse Lee. 

Barrow, Isaac. Sermons and fragments attributed to Isaac Barrow. Now 
first collected and edited from the MSS. in the University and Trinity 
College Libraries, Cambridge, by the Rev. J. P. Lee [aft. Bishop of 
Manchester]. Lond., 1834. 8vo. The AISS. subsequently proved 
to be foj-geries, and the hook was suppressed. 

Beckford, William. An Arabian tale [Caliph Vathek], from an unpublished 
manuscript. Lond., 1786. i2mo. Originally written in French, 
a7id published in 1787. This English versioii was made by a person 
whom Beckford declared to be unknoivn to him, but who is understood to 
have been the Rev. S. Henley, rector of Rendlesham, and was published 
anonymously and sterreptitiously. 

Bible or Portions of the Bible in the following languages and dialects : — 
Akra or Ga, Amharic, Aneitum, Anglo-Saxon, Arabic, Armenian, Assam, 
Basque, Bengali, Berber, Bohemian, Breton, Bulgarian, Canarese, 
Catalan, Ceylon-Portuguese, Chinese, Coptic, Cree, Danish, Dutch, 
Erromangan, Esquimaux, Ethiopic, Fate, Fijian, Finnish, Gaelic, Galla, 


German, Ghegh-Alhanian, (Jothic, Greek, Greenland, Gujerati, Gipsy, 
Harroti, Ilaussa, Hawaiian, Hebraeo-Samaritan, Hebrew, Hindi, Hindi- 
Kythi, Hindustani, Hungarian, Ibo, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Javanese, 
Judreo-Arabic, Kafir, Kankuna, Karelian, Khassee, Latin, Lettish, Lifu, 
Lithuanian, Loochooan, Magyar, Mahratta, Malagasy, Malayalim, 
Malay, Malliseet, Maltese, Manchu, Manx, Maori, Mayan, Mende, 
Micmac, Mongolian, Mooltan, Nagri, Nama, Narrinyeri, Nengone, 
Nepaulese, Norse or Icelandic. Nupe, Oriya, Otshi, Persian, Polish, 
Portuguese, Punjabi or Sikh, Pushtoo or Afghan, Rarotongan, Reval 
Esthonian, Romaic, Rumonsch or Lower Engadine, Russian, Samoan, 
Samogitian, Sanscrit, Santali, Sclavonic, Sechuana, Servian, Sesuto, 
or Basuto, Sindhi, Singhalese, Sirenian, Spanish, Surinam or Negro 
Dutch, Swahili, Swedish, Syriac, Tahitian, Tamil. Telegu, Temne, 
Tigre, Tongan, Turkish, Tyi or Chwee, Vikanera, Wallachian, Welsh, 
Bible, Dutch. [A portion of the Old Testament and of the Apocrypha. 
Translated from the Latin Vulgate.] 1477. Fol. B.L. First edition 
of any portion of the Holy Bible in Dutch. 

Bible. The Holy Bible, containing the Old Testament and the New. 
Cambridge, John Baskerville. 1763. Fol. 

Bible. Byble in Englishe, that is the Olde and New Testament, after the 
translacion appoynted to bee read in the churches. Imprynted at London, 
in Flete-strete, at the signe of the Sunne, over agaynste the Conduyte, by 
Edward Whitchurche. 1549. Fol. 

Biblia en lengua Espailola traduzida palabra por palabra de la verdad 
Hebrayca. Ferrara, 1553. Fol. Pri^ited for the use of the [ews. 

Biblia Sacra Polyglotta. Edidit Brianus Waltonius. Lond,, 1657. Fol. 
6 vols. A fine copy. Has the Cromwell dedication. 

Bibliographiana, by a Society of Gentlemen ; originally published in the 
"Manchester Exchange Herald " in 1815 and 1816. Manch., Joseph 
Aston. 8vo. Ojtly 24 copies p7-inted. 7'his copy contains the names 
of contributors added in MS. 

Black-letter ballads. 2 vols. 

Brydges, Sir S. Egerton. The Sylvan Wanderer ; consisting of a series of 
mural, sentimental, and critical essays. Printed at the private press of 
Lee Priory, 181 3. 8vo. The editions of the various works issued 
from the [Lee Briory] Press were purposely limited to a s?nall number of 
copies, and were sold by the printers to book-collectors at high prices.^'' Diet. 
Nat. Biog. 

Calvin, John. Sermons of Maister John Caluin, vpon the Booke of lob. 

Translated out of French by Arthur Golding. Lond. 1584. Fol. 
Chaucer, Geoffrey. The workes of Geffrey Chaucer, newlie printed, with 

diuers addicions, whiche were neuer in print before ; with the siege and 

destruccion of the worthy citee of Thebes, compiled by John Lidgate, 

monk of Berie. Lond., 1561. Fol. Black letter. Edited by John 

Collier, John. The miscellaneous works of Tim Bobbin, Esq. Manch., 

1819. 8vo. With MS. and other additions by Jesse Lee. 
Collier, John. The Works of Tim Bobbin, Esq. , in Prose and Verse ; with 

a Memoir of the Author by John Corry. Rochdale, 1819. 8vo. With 

printed and pictorial additions by Jesse Lee. 

Corry, John. History of Lancashire. Lond. 1S25. 4to. 2 vols. With 
MS. and other additions by /esse Lee. 



Dante Alighieri. L'Inferno di Dante Alighieri disposto in ordine gram- 
maticaie e corredato di brevi dichiarazioni da G. G. Warren, Lord 
Vernon. Londra. 1858-65. 3 vols. Fol. Only a Iwiited number of 
copies issued for private circtdation. Some of the most distinguished 
artists and men of letters in Italy were occupied for 20 years in its pre- 
paration. Did. Nat. Biog., vol. 58, p. 276. 

Dante Alighieri. Le prime quattro edizioni della Divina Commedia letter- 
almente ristampate per cura di G. G. Warren, Lord Vernon. Londra. 
1858. Fol. 

Bailey, J. E. The Life of Thomas Fuller, D.D., with notices of his books, 
his kinsmen, and his friends. Lond. 1874. 8vo. Bound in ^ vols., 
with numerous MS. and other additions by the Author. Also Proof- 
sheets of part of the " Life," with author's corrections and annotations. 
Also Collection of letters, transcripts, cuttings, and memoranda relating 
to Fuller's life and works. 

Dee, Dr. John. Diary for the years 1595-1601. Edited, from the original 
MSS. in the Bodleian Library, by John Eglington Bailey. 1880. Not 
published. 20 copies printed. With MS. and other additions by /. E. 

Dibdin, T. F. Specimen Bibliothecae Britannicse, Specimen of a digested 
catalogue of rare, curious, and useful books in the English language. 
Lond. 1808. 8vo. Oiily dp copies printed. Presentation copy to Wm. 
Ford, Manchester, from the Author. With many MS. notes by Ford. 

Drayton, Michael. Poemes lyrick and pastorall, odes, eglogs, the Man 
iu the Moone. Lond., printed by K. B., for N. L. and L Flasket. 
[1605.] l2mo. 55" leaves unnumbered. Only two other copies of this 
book were known to exist when Lowndes published his Manual ; but Hazlitt 
?nentions five perfect copies, and that two or three tnoi-e or less imperfect 
copies also exist. 

Eaton Chronicle ; or, the Salt Box. 1789. 8vo. While a large party ivas 
staying at Eaton Hall in iy8S a MS. fournal was established and read at 
breakfast. The sub-title arose from the contributions being placed in a salt- 
box. The journal was afterwards priiited, as above. 

[Fabyan, Robert. Fabyan's Cronycle newly prynted, wyth the cronycle, 
actes, dedes done in the tyme of Henry the VIL, etc.] Lond. W. 
Rastell. 1533. Fol. Incomplete. 

Florence Miscellany. [By Mrs. Piozzi, Bertie Greatheed, Robert Merry, 
William Parsons.] Florence. 1785. 8vo. With autograph MS. poem 
by Wm. Parsons inserted. A " Della Cruscan " production ; ridiculed in 
Giffor£s " Baviad " and '■' Maviad." 

Foxe, John. Acts and monuments of these latter and perillous dayes, touch- 
ing matters of the Church, wherein are comprehended and described the 
great persecutions and horrible troubles that have been wrought and 
practised by the Romish prelates, especiallye in this realme of Englande 
and Scotlande. Lond., by John Daye. 1562-3. Fol. Black letter. 
First edition, with plates and woodcuts. Wanting signatures A, B, Cj, 
ami 14 leaves of the index. 

Eoxe, Tohn. Acts and monuments of the Christian martyrs, and matters 
ecclesiasticall, passed in the Church of Christ from the primitive beginning 
to these our daies. Lond. 1583. Fol. 2nd edition, partly black letter, 
with woodcuts. Wants the title-page and last leaf of the table. 

Goussancourt, F. M. de. Le Martyrologe des Chevaliers de S. Jean de 
Hiervsalem. Paris. 1654. Fol. 2 vols. 


Guevara, Antony of. The dial of princes. Englished by Thomas North, 
and novve newly revised and corrected by hym. Lond. 1582. Fol. 
Black letter. A perfect copy of a rare and curious book. An adaptation 
from the " Meditations " of Marcus Aiirelius. 

Heyrick, Richard. A Sermon preached at the Collegiate Church at Man- 
chester, on Tuesday, the 23 of April. 1661. Being the Coronation Day 
of his Royal Majestie, Charles II. Lond. 1661. Sm. 4to. 

Heyrick, Richard. [Petition to Charles I. " of divers [of] His Majesties 
faithfull subjects of the true Protestant religion, within the County 
Palatine of Lancaster."] Presented to the King at York, May ^i, 1642. 

Heyrick, Richard. Three Sermons preached at the Collegiate Church in 
Manchester. Lond. 1641. i2mo. 

Horace. Satira V. Traduzione Italiana, con rami allusivi. Parma. 1818. 
4to. Pt-inted at the expense of Elizabeth, Duchess of Devonshire ( ijsg- 
1S24), by the widom of Bodoni, with engraznngs by Caraccioli. " One of 
Ike finest works issued by [the Bodoni'\ press." Diet. Nat. Biog., ix., 344. 

Ireland, William Henry. Miscellaneous papers and legal documents under 
the hand and seal of William Shakspearc.from the original MSS. in the 
possession of Samuel Ireland. Lond. 1796. Fol. A copy of the 
original subscription edition of facsimiles of the Shakespeare forgeries of 
W. H. Ireland. 

Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia ; written in the year 
1 78 1. Privately printed, 1782. Autograph presentatioti copy to Dr. 

King, Edward, Viscount King.sborough. Antiquities of Mexico, comprising 
fac-similes of ancient Mexican paintings and hieroglyphics preserved in 
[various libraries]. ... The drawings, on stone, by A. Aglio. Lond. 
1831-48. Fol. 9 vols. A magnificent -cvork. 77ie first y vols, cost King 
upiaards of £32,000 and his life. Oppressed with debt, he was arrested 
at the suit of a paper maniifacttirer, and lodged in the Sheriff's prison, 
Dublin, where he died of typhus fever on 2jth February, 1^37. Diet. 
Nat. Biog. 

Lancashire. Fragments, consisting of Portraits, Views, Scraps, &c. relating 
to Lancashire. Collected by Jesse Lee. 4to. 

Lee, Jesse. Notes on Collier's "Human Passions Delineated." 8vo. 2 vols. 

London. A Collection of the Names of the Merchants in and about London. 

Lond. 1677. i6mo. The first London Directory. Very rare. Contains 

the autograph of Thomas Hearne, the antiquary. 

Lucian. Lvciani Dialogi et alia mvlta. ...Venetiis in aedibus Aldi et Andrew 

Asulani. 1522. Fol. Greek. 
Milton, John. Poems of Mr. John Milton, both English and Latin, 

compos'd at several times. Lond. 1645. i2mo. With portrait ; a 

fine copy. 

Milton, John. Paradise Lost, A poem, in ten books. The author, John 

Milton. Lond. Printed by S. Simmons, and are to be sold by T. 

Helder, at the Angel in Little Brittain, 1669. Sm. 410. First edition, 

with seventh title-page. 
Morris, William. Kelmscott Press Publications : — 

Lefevre. Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye. 1892. 2 vols. 

Voragine. The Golden Legend. 1892. 2 vols. 

History of Godefrey of Boloyne. 1893. 

Caxton. History of Reynard the Foxe. 1893. 

Meinhold. Sidonia the Sorceress. 1893. 


Shakespeare. Poems. 1893. 
Morris. Gothic Architecture. 1893. 
Rossetti. Hand and Soul. 1895. 

Morris. Child Christo]5her and Goldilind the fair. 1895. 2 vols. 
Laudes Beatae Mariae Viiginis. 1896. 
Morris. The Well at the World's End. 1896. 
Morris. Note on the Kelniscott Press. 1898. 
Ormerod, George. History of the County Palatine and the City of Chester. 
Lond. 1819. Fol. 3 vols. With 6 additional vols, of riders, being 
collections for a neiv edition, by Thos. Hehby. 
[Penry, John.] A briefe discovery of the vntrvthes and slanders (against the 
trve gouernment of the Church of Christ) contained in a sermon preached 
the 8 of Fel.>ruarie, 1588, by D[octor Richard] Bancroft, and since that 
time set forth in print, with additions by the said authour. This short 
answer may serve for the clearing of the truth vntill a larger confutation of 
the sermon be published. 4to. One of the Mar- Prelate Tracts, by their 
chief author and printer, and being secretly printed is exceedingly 7-are. 
Primer in Englishe and Latyn, set foorth by the Kynges maiestie and his 
clergie to be taught, learned, and read : and none other to be vsed 
throughout all his dominions. Lond. Richard Grafton, 1545. Sm. 410. 
Raffald, Elizabeth. The Manchester Directory for the year 1772. Lond. Svo. 

The first Manchester Directory : this copy has the paper covers. 
Salvianus [Bishop of Massilia). Quis Diues Saluus. How a rich man may 
be saved. . . . Translated into English by N. T. {i.e. Joseph Cresswell]. 
[Lond.] 1618. i8mo. "[77n>] book, no doubt printed for ciixulation 
amongst the proscribed Roman Catholics at home, and the refugees on the 
Continent, is 7iow a rare one, and has not been described by English 
bibliographers. " 
Selden, John. Table Talk: being the discourses of John Selden . . relating 

especially to religion and state. Lond. 1689. 4to. First edition. 

Shakespeare, William. Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, published 

according to the true original! coppies. The second impression. Lond. 

1632. Fol. Joliti Philip Kemble's copy. It presents the same singularity 

as that noticed by H. G. Bohn in Low7ides' " Bibliographer' s Manual, ^^ 

1863, namely, the word spelt '■'coppies.'" 

Shakespeare, William. Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, published 

according to the true original copies, unto which is added seven plays 

never before printed in folio. . . The fourth edition. Lond. 1685. Fol. 

Shelley, Percy Bysshe. Posthumous Poems. [Edited by Mrs. Shelley.] 

Lond. 1824. 8vo. 
Spenser, Edmund. The Faerie Queen : The shepheards calendar ; together 
with the other works of England's arch-poet, Edm. Spenser. . . Lond. 
161 1. F""ol. 
Taylor, John. All the workes of John Taylor, the water-poet. Being 
sixty and three in number. Collected into one volume by the author : 
with sundry new additions corrected, revised and newly imprinted. . . 
Lond, 1630. Fol. This goodly hut disorderly folio, tvhich had to be set 
up at the presses of four different printers, . . has lono been a biblio- 
graphical rarity. Diet. Nat. Biog. 
Walpole, H., 4th Earl of Orford. Miscellaneous Antiquities. Nos. i and 2. 
Strawberry Hill, 1772. 4to. Prifited at Walpole'' s famous private 
printing press at Strawberry Hill. Contains the followim^ MS. note by 
Mark 'Noble, author of " The Protectorate House of Crom-well" :—" This 
was presented to me by the late Earl of Orfo>-d. There ivere no more 
numbers printed than the two here given." 


Wither, George. A Collection of Emblemes, ancient and moderne : 
quickened with metricall illvstrations, both morall and divine, and disposed 
into lotteries. . . Lond. 1634-35. Fol. 

Wither, George. Life. From Wihnott's " Lives of sacred poets." With 
MS. annotations and additions, and other printed matter and portraits. 

YuilJe, R. Mashy .Saiin Belek. 1837. 4to. In the Mongolian language. 
Mr. Ytiille {who was a Scotchman), in a mantiscript account, says he 
made the press on which the book was printed, also the matrices, and cast 
two founts of type, one Mongolian the other Thibetan. I he only help he 
had was rendered l>r his Alongolian pupils and workmen. 

The following is a list of some of the more valuable 
illustrated works : — ■ 

Alphand, A. Promenades de Paris. 2 vols. 

Ancient Churches of England. Published by Society of Antiquaries. 

Anderson, W. Pictorial Arts of Japan. 1886, 
Andrews, H. C. Coloured Engravings of Heaths. 1802. 3 vols. 
Angas, G. F. New Zealanders. 1847. 
Antiquities de I'Empire de Russie. 1849-53. 6 vols. 
Armstrong, W. Gainsborough : his place in English Art. 1898. 
Arte Italiana. Decorative e industriale. 1890-96. 5 vols. 
Asselineau, C. Amies et Armures. J845. 
Audsley, G. A. Art of Chromo-Lithography. 1883. 

Ornamental Arts of Japan. 1882-4. 2 vols. 

and Bowes, J. L. Keramic Art of Japan. 1875. 2 vols. 

Audsley, W. and G. Polychromatic Decoration. 18S2. 

Sermon on the Mount. 1861. 

Barrett, C. G. Lepidoptera of the British Islands. 1893-99. 5 ^'ols. 

Bell, M. Edward Burne-Jones. 1S92. 

Belnos.. Mrs. S. C. Sundhya, or the Daily Prayers of the Brahmins. 1851. 

Berggruen, O. Kronprinz-Album. 1883. 

Bernatz, J. M. Scenes in Ethiopia. 1851. 2 vols. 

Bibliotheca Lindesiana. Autotype facsimiles of Three Mappemondes. 1536, 

1546, 1550. 
Birch, G. H. London Churches of the 17th and i8th Centuries. 1896. 
Blomfield, R. History of Renaissance Architecture in England. 1897. 

2 vols. 
Blume, C. L. Collection des Orchldees. 1864. 

Flora Javre. 1828. 

Booth, E. T. Rough Notes on Birds of British Islands. 1 88 1. 
Borlase, W. C. Dolmens of Ireland. 1897. 3 vols. 
Botta, P. E. Monuments de Ninive. 1859. 5 vols. 
Bouillon, P. Musee des Antiques. 181 1-27. 3 vols. 
Bourgeois, E. Le Grand Siecle : Louis XIV. 1896. 


Bowes, J. L. Japanese Pottery. 1890. 

Bradford, W. Arctic Regions. 1873. 

Braund, J. Illustrations of Furniture. 1S58. 

Brinkley, F., Editor, Japan, Described and Illustrated by the Japanese. 

1897. 3 vols. 
British Museum. Antiquities of Britain, Medieval Art. Photographs. 1872. 

Assyrian Antiquities. Photographs. 1872. 3 vols. 

• Catalogue of Birds. 1874-95. 27 vols. 

Egyptian Antiquities. Photographs. 1872. 2 vols. 

Etruscan and Roman Antiquities. Photographs. 1872. 

Grecian Antiquities. Photographs. 1S72. 2 vols. 

Pie-historic, Ethnographical, and Christy Collection. Photographs. 

1872. 2 vols. 

Seals. Photographs. 1872. 

Buonarroti, M. A. Drawings from the Lawrence Gallery. 1853. 

Burns, E. Coinage of Scotland : Illustrated from the Cabinet of Thos. 

Coats, Esq. 1887. 3 vols. 
Carriere-Belleuse, A. Application de la Figure Humaine a la Decoration. 

2 vols. 
Cicognara, L. Fabbriche piu conspicue di Venezia. 1815-20 2 vols. 
Claude le Lorraine. Liber Studiorum. 3 vols. 
Clouet, F. Three Hundred French Portraits. 1S75. 2 vols. 
Creighton, M. Queen Elizabeth. 1896. 
Cremer and Wolffenstein. Der Innere Aiisbau. 1886. 
Curtis, W. Flora Londinensis. 1777-1828. 4 vols. 
Dayot, A. Napoleon, raconte par I'image. 1895. 
Decoration Arabe. 

Dietterlin, W. Le Livre de I'Architeclure. 1862. 2 vols. 
Dresser, H. E. Birds of Europe. 1871-S1. 8 vols. 
Monograph of the Meropidce. 1884-6. 

Drummond, J. Sculptured Monuments of lona and the West Highlands. 

Duchesne, J. Musee Francais. 4 vols. 
Durer, A. Sammtliche Kupferstiche. 2 vols. 
Du Sommerard, A. Les Arts au Moyen Age. 10 vols. 
Eastlake, C. L. Pictures in the National Gallery. 1896-99. 
Elliot, D. G. Monograph of the Felidre. 1883. 

Monograph of the Hornbills. 1882. 

Monograph of the Paradiseida;. 1873. 

Elwes, H. J. Monograph of the Genus Lilium. 18S0. 
English Art in the Public Galleries of London. 1888. 2 vols. 
Facsimiles of National MSS. of Ireland. 1874-82. 
Fergusson, J. Ancient Architecture of Hindostan. 1S47. 
Finiguerra, M. A Florentine Picture-Chionicle. 1S98. 
Fischbach, F. Ornament of Textile Fabrics. 2 vols. 
\ Fletcher, W. Y. English Bookbindings in the British Museum. 1895. 
Fowler, W. VV. Coleoptera of the British Islands. 1887-91. 5 vols. 


Fritsch, K. E. O. Denkmaeler, Deutscher Renaissance. 1891. 4 vols. 

Froehner, W. Musees de France. 1873. 

Funde von Olympia. 1SS2. 

Gardiner, S. R. Oliver Cromwell. 1899. 

Giraud, J. B. Les Arts du Metal. 1881. 

Godman, F. D. and Salvin, O. Bioloi^ia Centrali-Americana. 1879. 

In progress. 
Gonse, L. L'Art Gothique. 1896. 

La Sculpture Frangaise. 1895. 

' Gotch, J. A. Architecture of the Renaissance in England. 1891-94, 2 vols. 
Grasset, E. Plants and their application to ornament. 1896. 
Greard, V. C. O. Meissonier : his life and art. 1897. 
Great Cathedrals of the World. 1886. 2 vols. 
Gowry, J., and Jones, Owen. Plans, Elevations, Sections, and Details of 

the Alhambra. 1842. 2 vols. 
Gruner, L. Decorations of the Garden-Pavilion in the Grounds of Bucking- 
ham Palace. 1846. 

Scripture Prints from the Frescoes of Raphael in the Vatican. 1866. 

Specimens of Ornamental Art. 1850. 

Grunow, C. Plastiche Ornamente der Italienischen Renaissance. 1881. 
Gruyer, F. A. Peinture h. Chantilly. 1896-97. 
Guiffrey, ]. Sir Anthony Van Dyck. 1896. 
Gurlitt, C. Die Baukunst Frankreichs. 1897. 
Hamerton, P. G. Graphic Arts. 1882. 

Man in Art. 1892. 

Landscape. 1885. 

Harrison, J. E., and MacColl, D. S. Greek Vase Painting. 1894. 

Hartshorne, A. Old English Glasses. 1897. 

Havard, H. Ilistoire de I'orfevrerie Fran9aise. 1896. 

Hipkins, A. J. Musical Instruments, Historic, Rare, and Unique. 1888. 

Holbein, H. Facsimiles of Original Drawings. 1884. 

Holmes, R. R. Specimens of Bookbinding, selected from the Royal Library, 

Windsor Castle. 1893. 
Hooker, Sir W. J., and Greville, R. K. Icones Filicum. 1S29. 2 vols. 
Humphreys, H. N. Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages. 1844. 
Jones, Owen. Grammar of Ornament. 1866. 

Victoria Psalter. 

Jungh'andel, M. Baukunst Spaniens. 2 vols. 
Kingsborough, Lord. Antiquities of Mexico. 1831-48. 9 vols. 
, Kitton, F. G. Charles Dickens by Pen and Pencil. 1890. 
Laborde, A. de. Descripcion de un Pavimento en Mosayco. 1806. 
Layard, A. H. Monuments of Nineveh. 1849. 
Le Nordez, Mgr. Jeanne d'Arc. 1898. 

Lee, O. A. J. Among British Birds in their Nesting Haunts. 1897. 
Lessing, J. Alt Orientalische Teppichmuster. 1877. 
Letarouilly, P. Le Vatican. 1882. 
Edifices de Rome Moderne. 


Lievre, E. Collections celebres d'ceuvres d'art. 1866. 

Works of Art in the collections of England. 

Lilford, Lord. Birds of the British Islands. 1S85-97. 7 vols. 
Linton, W. J. Masters of Wood Engraving. 1889. 
JVIcIan, R. R. Clans of the Scottish Highlands. 1845. 2 vols. 
McKenny, T. L. Indian tribes of North America. 1838-44. 4 vols. 

* Mackenzie, Sir J. D. Castles of England. 1897. 2 vols. 
Malherbe, A. Monographie des Picidees. 1861. 4 vols. 
Mariette, A. E. Voyage dans la Haute-Egypte. 1893. 
Masson, F. Josephine, imperatrice et reine. 1899. 

Meyer, A. B., and Wiglesworth, L. W. The Birds of Celebes. 1898. 2 vols. 

Michel, E. Rembrandt, his life, work, and times. 1894. 2 vols. 

Molinier, E. Histoire generale des arts appliques a I'industrie du Ve a la 
fin du XVIIIe siecle. 1896-98. 3 vols. 

Montrosier, E. Chefs d'oeuvre d'art au Luxembourg. 1881. 

Moore, T., and Lindley. J. British ferns. 1855. 

Motte, C. Galerie de S.A.R. le Due d'Orleans. 2 vols. 

Miintz, E. Florence et la Toscane. 1897. 

Histoire de I'art pendant la Renaissance. 1889-95. 2 vols. 

Leonardo da Vinci. 1898. 2 vols. 

Murphy, J. C. Arabian antiquities of Spain. 1813. 

Musee de Sculpture comparee du Palais du Trocadero. 1895. 

Muybridge, E. Animal locomotion. 1887. 9 vols. 

* Nash, J. Mansions of England in the olden time. 1839. 
National Gallery engravings. 1840. 

v» Nayler, Sir G. Coronation of George IV. 1837. 
/ Neale, J. Abbey Church of St. Alban. 1878. 

Neale, J. P. Westminster Abbey. 1823. 2 vols. 

Nolhac, P de. La Dauphine : Marie Antoinette. 1896. 

Norwegian North Atlantic Expedition, 1876-78. 

Ongania, F. La Basilica di S. Marco. 1881-86. 17 vols. 

Streets and canals of Venice. 1893-96. 2 vols. 

Partington, J. E. Album of the Pacific Islands. 1890-98. 3 vols. 
% Penley, A. English school of painting in water colours. 1872. 

Pierre, L. Flore forestiere de la Cochin Chine. 

Place, V. Ninive et I'Assyrie. 1867. 3 vols. 

Prentice, A. N. Renaissance architecture and ornament in Spain. 1893. 

Pyne, J. B. English Lake District. 1853. 

Quilter, H. Preferences in art, life, and literature. 1892. 


Racinet, A. L'Ornement polychrome. 2 vols. 

Raphael. Picturce Peristyle Vaticani. 17S0. 

Rathbone, F. Old Wedgewood. 1S98. 

Rhys, E. Sir Frederic Leighton, P. R. A. 1895. 

Richardson, C. J. Studies of ornamental design, 

Rogers, C. Collection of Prints. 1778. 2 vols. 

Riickwardt, H. Berliner Neubauten. 

Ruprich- Robert, V. L'architecture Normaride aux XI« et XII« Siecles en 

Normandie et en Angleterre. 1889. 2 vols. 
Ruskin, J. Examples of the Architecture of Venice. 1887. 

Lectures on Landscape. 1897. 

Studies in both Arts. 1895. 

Sachs, E. O. Modern Opera Houses and Theatres. 1897-9S. 3 vols. 

Sander, F. Reichenbachia. 4 vols. 

Sanders, W. B. Examples of Carved Oak Woodwork. 1883. 

.Sargent, C. S. Silva of North America. 1892-98. 12 vols. 

Schott, A. and Hagen, K. Die Deutschen Kaiser. 1847. 

Silvestre, J. B. Universal Paleography. 1850. 2 vols. 

Slezer, J. Theatrum Scotiae. 1874. 

Skelton, Sir J. Charles L 1S9S. 

Solon, L. INI. Art of the Old English Potter. 1883. 

Stephens, F. G. Laurence Alma Tadema, R.A. 1895. 

Strack, H. Baudenkmaeler Roms. 

Texier, C. and PuUan, R. P. Byzantine Architecture. 1864. 

Unger, W, K. K. Gemalde-Galerie in Wien. 1886. 2 vols. 

Musee National d'Amsterdam. 

Vacher, S. Fifteenth Century Italian Ornament. 1S86. 
Vallance, A. Art of William Morris. 1897. 
Vetusta Monumenta. 1747-1842. 6 vols. 
Viollet-le-Duc, E. E. Compositions et dessins. 1884. 
Vuillier, G. La Sicile. 1896. 

Wallich, N. Plantse Asiaticre rariores. 1830. 3 vols. 
Walton, E. The camel. 1865. 
^ Waring, J. B. Masterpieces of industrial art and sculpture. 1863. 3 vols. 

Warner, R. Select orchidaceous plants. 1862-65. 
» Warrington, W. History of stained glass. 1848. 

Westwood, J. O. Miniatures and ornaments of Anglo-Saxon and Irish 
MSS. 1868. 
J Wild, C. English and foreign cathedrals. 1831. 


Woodward, B. B. Windsor Castle. 

Woolward, F. H., and Lehnnann, F. C. The genus Masdevallia. 1896. 

Wornum, R. N. Turner gallery. 

Wyatt, M. D. Industrial arts of the 19th century. 1851. 

Ysendyck, J. J. van. L'art dans les Pays Bas du X. au XVIII. siecle. 
1880. 3 vols. 

Zahn, W. Ornamente Klassischen. 1870. 

Pompeii and Herculaneum, 1829. 2 vols. 


To obtain books to read in the Reference Library it is 
necessary to write on a slip, furnished for the purpose, 
the name and address of the appHcant, together with the 
title and number of the book required. These latter 
should be obtained from the catalogue, which consists of 
three volumes, the first two containing a detailed descrip- 
tion of the books in the library up to the end of the year 
1879. The third is an alphabetical index of authors and 
subjects to the other two, and is the only one provided for 
general use. This arrangement was necessitated by the 
entries in the second volume having been printed as the 
books were received, and therefore without alphabetical 
order. For the additions to the library since 1879, several 
manuscript volumes are provided. The arrangement in 
them is the same as in the index volume of the catalogue. 

As a supplement to the manuscript index, there is 
issued a quarterly list of additions to the Reference 
Library classified according to the Dewey system. 
This list of additions appears in the MancJiester Picblic 
Free Libraries Quarterly Record, which is now in its third 
year of issue, having been commenced early in 1897. 
Besides the classified listbf additions the Quarterly Record 
has contained a catalogue of the Alexander Ireland 
Collection of the Works of Hazlitt, &c., reading lists on 
topics of current interest such as Strikes, Cuba, and 


English Art, an annotated list of books relating to 
Cromwell, and occasional articles descriptive of interesting 
additions to the library. 

Assistance to readers in the use of the catalogues, or 
for other purposes, will be readily afforded by the officers 
and attendants. Pens and ink are supplied for the purpose 
of making notes or extracts, but their use for private 
correspondence is contrary to the regulations. 


The library possesses also a good collection of biblio- 
graphies, catalogues, and other works likely to be of use 
to readers in their search for information. A few of the 
more important books of this class are here named : — 

British Museum, Catalogue of Printed Books. 

Catalogue of Printed Maps, Plants, and Charts. 2 vols. 1885. 

Subject Index of Modern Books, added in 1880-95. 

Catalogue of Early English Books to 1640. 3 vols. 

Catalogue of Books in the Galleries in the Reading Room. 1S86. 

Bodleian Library, Oxford, Catalogue. 4 vols. 1849-54. 

Trinity College, Dublin, Catalogue. 9 vols. 

Advocates' Library, Edinburgh, Catalogue. 7 vols. 

Boston Athenaeum Library, Catalogue. 5 vols. 

Peabody Institute Library, Baltimore, Catalogue. 

Brooklyn Library, Catalogue. 1881. 

Birmingham Free Library, Catalogue. 

Liverpool Free Library, Catalogue. 

Hain, Kepertorium Bibliographicum (books befure 1500). 4 vols. 1826-38. 

Brunet, Manual du Libraire et Supplement. 8 vols. 1860-S0 

Graesse, Tresor de Livres rares et precieux. 7 vols. 1859-69. 

Huth Library, Catalogue (early and rare books). 5 vols. iSSo. 

Watt's Bibliotheca Britannica. 4 vols. 

Lowndes' Bibliographical Manual of English Literature. New Edition by 
H. G. Bohn. 6 vols. 


Low's English Catalogue. 1832-9S. With Indexes. 
Querard, La France Litteraire. 12 vols. 

Litterature Fran9aise Contemporaine. 6 vols. 

Lorenz, Libraire Fran9aise. 1840-90. 12 vols. 

The American Catalogue. 5 vols. 

Hinrich's Fiinfjahriger Biicher-Catalog. 1850-95. 

Halkett and Laing, Dictionary of Anonymous and Pseudonymous Literature. 

Cushing, Initials and Pseudonyms. 2 vols. 1886. 

Anonyms. 1889. 

Poole's Index of Periodical Literature and Supplements. 
Sonnenshein, Best Books. 1891. 

Readers' Guide. 1895. 

Whitaker's Reference Catalogue. 

Allibone, Dictionary of English Literature. 1859-91. 5 vols. 

Boston Public Library, Sundry Catalogues. 

Bibliographie Nationale Beige. 4 vols. 

Many bibliographies of special subjects will be found 
in the general catalogues, and the reader may find it con- 
venient to refer to the " Hand-List of Bibliographies, 
Classified Catalogues and Indexes, placed in the Reading 
Room of the British Museum," to the heading " Biblio- 
graphy" in the Birmingham and Wigan Free Library 
catalogues ; and to the various lists in the " Library Journal." 

The books are arranged on the shelves on the "decimal" 
system of classification originated by Mr. Melvil Dewey 
of Amherst, U.S.A. When the library was opened 
the books were placed on the shelves in broad classes 
according to a fixed location scheme devised by Mr. 
Edwards, but shortly after the removal of the library to 
its present location this classification began to break down 
and eventually became absolutely useless. It was there- 
fore decided in 1894, to reclassify the whole collection on 
Mr. Dewey's method, which, although somewhat com- 
plicated, works well in practice, and has been of consider- 
able advantage to readers, and to the Staff. 


Readers may recommend books which they consider 
suitable for placing in the library, and for this purpose a 
printed form can be obtained at the desk. These recom- 
mendations are submitted to the Committee at their 
ensuing monthly meeting. 


Reference Library. 

Number of 

Books Used. 

I St Year, 

5th „ 

loth „ 

15th „ 

20th „ 

2ISt „ 

22nd „ 

23i"d „ 

24th „ 

25th „ 

27th „ 

28th „ 

29th ,, 

30th „ 

32nd „ 

33rd „ 

34th ., 

35th „ 

36th „ 

37th „ 

38th „ 

39th „ 

40th ,, 

41st ,, 

42nd ,, 

43''d „ 

44th „ 

45th „ 

46th „ 

1874-S • 
1888-9 . 

































HE twelve lending libraries are named and 
situated as follows : — 

Deansgate ; in Deansgate. 

Hulme ; Stretford Road. 

Ancoats ; Every Street. 

Rochdale Road ; Livesey Street, Rochdale 

Chorlton and Ardwick ; Rusholme Road. 

Cheetham ; York Street, Cheetham. 

Newton Heath ; Oldham Road. 

Rusholme ; Dickenson Road. 

Longsight ; Stockport Road. 

Gorton ; Belle Vue Street. 

Openshaw ; Ashton Old Road. 

Moston ; Moston Lane. 
Each of these libraries contains a lending library, news- 
room, and boys' room, except that at Moston, where a boys' 
room has not yet been provided. The lending depart- 
ments are furnished with books of a standard character in 
every department of literature, and their interest is 
maintained by a regular supply of the best new books. 
Any person may recommend books for addition to the 
library, and a form for the purpose can be obtained on 
application. In each library there is a special collection 


of music, and in the Deansgate Branch one of books for 
the bHnd. Catalogues on the index system are provided, 
ranging in price from 3d. to 6d. each. Instructions for 
obtaining books to read at home are given on page 233. 
Books may also be obtained to read in the newsrooms, 
during the whole time that they are open, by signing 
a ticket provided for the purpose. The lending depart- 
ments are open from 8-30 a.m. to 9-0 p.m. every day 
except Saturday, when they are closed at 5-0 p.m., and 
they are also closed on Sunday. 

The newsrooms are provided with a large number of 
newspapers and periodicals for perusal. The following is 
a list of those supplied at the present time, June, 1S99 : 


In cases -where the Serials are not taken at every Library and Reading Room, 
the initials of the Branches to ivhich they are supplied are appended. 












Newton Heath 








Chester Road 




Rochdale Road 




Hyde Road 







Aberdeen Free Press (Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. RR.) 
Aberystwyth Observer (Hul.) 
Academy (Cho. D. Hul. L. O. R.) 
Accountant (A. Che. Cho. Cr. D. G. 

Har, Hul. HR. NH. O. R.) 
African Review (R.) 
Alliance News (A. Che. Cho. D. G. 

Hul, L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
Anglo-Californian (R), 
Animal World (All Branches except 

Cr. Har. M.) 
Animal's Friend (Har.) 
Architectural Review (O.) 
Argosy (A. Che. Cho. D. G. Hul. 

L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
Arms and Explosives (D.) 
Army and Navy Gazette (A. Che. 

CR. Cho. D. G. Hul. NH. O. 

RR. R.) 

Army List Monthly (A. Che. CR. 

Cho. D. G. Hul. HR. RR.) 
Ashton-under-Lyne Reporter (G. L. 

NH. O.) 
Assure (D.) 
Athenceum (All Branches except B. 

Cr. M.) 
Atlantic Monthly (D. Hul. RR.) 
Awake (A. Cho. D. Hul.) 
Band of Hope Review (A. Che. CR. 

Cho. D. G. Hul. HR. L. NH. O. 

RR. R.) 
Banner of Israel (Che. Har. ) 
Banner and Times of Wales (Cho. 

Belfast News Letter (A. Che. CR- 

Cho. D. G. Hul. O. RR.) 
Bible Advocate (All Branches) 
Bible Society Gleanings for the Young 

(A. Chfc. Cho. D. Hul. RR.) 



Bible Society Monthly Reporter (A. 

Che. Cho. Hul. D. RR.) 
Bimetallist (All Branches except Cr. M. ) 
Birmingham Daily Gazette (A. Che. 

CR. Cho. D. Har. Hul. HR. L. 

NH. RR. R.) 
Birmingham Daily Post (All Branches 

except B. Har. M.) 
Birmingham Weekly Mercury (D.) 
Black and White (All Branches.) 
Blackley Guardian (Har. M. NH.) 
Blackwood's Magazine (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. RR.) 
Boiler Explosions (A. Che. D. Hul. 

Bookman (Che. D. G. Hul. O.) 
Boy's Own Paper (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Bradford (Manchester) Reporter (B.) 
Bradford (Yorks.) Observer (D.) 
Bradshaw's Railway Guide {See Rail- 
way Guide) 
British Trade fournal (D.) 
British Weekly (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
British Workman (All Branches except 

B. Cr. Har. M.) 
Broad Arrow (Che. CR. Cho. D. G. 

Hul. HR. L. RR.) 
Builder (A. B. Che. Cho. D. G. Har. 

Hul. HR.) 
Builders' Reporter (D.) 
Building News (A. CR. D. G. Hul. 

L. M. O. RR. R.) 
Building World (RR.) 
Cabinet Maker (A. Cho. D. G. O.) 
Cambrian News (Che. Hul.) 
Canadian Gazette (G.) 
Cape Argus (D.) 
Carnarvon and Denbigh Herald (Cho. 

D. Har. Plul.) 
Carpenter and Builder (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Cassell's Family Magazine (All 

Cassell's Saturday Journal (All 

Branches except Cr. M.) 
Catholic Fireside (G. NH. RR.) 
Catholic Missions (A. Hul. RR.) 
Catholic Times (All Branches except 

Cr. M. NH.) 
Century Magazine (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Chambers's Journal (All Branches) 
Chatterbox "(AH Branches except Cr. 

Har. M.) 
Chemical News (B. D. Hul. NH.) 
Child's Guardian (D.) 

Children's Friend (All Branches 

except Cr. Har. M.) 
Children's World (A. Cho. D. Hul.) 
Chorley Guardian (NH.) 
Christian Budget (RR.) 
Christian World (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
Chums (All Branches except Cr. M.) 
Church Missionary Gleaner (A. B. 

Che. CR. Cho. Cr. D. Har. Hul. 

HR. RR.) 
Church Missionary lutelligencer (A. 

Che. Cho. D. Hul. RR.) 
Church of England Temperance 

Chronicle (All Branches.) 
Church Weekly (D.) 
Civil Service Aspirant (Che.) 
Civil Service Competitor (Che. Hul.) 
Civil Service Examiner (A. Cho. D. 

Hul. NH. RR.) 
Civil Service Monthly (Hul.) 
Clarion (HR.) 
Cole's Excursion List (A.) 
Colliery Guardian (B. IX) 
Contemporary Review (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Har. Hul. L. NH. RR. R.) 
Contract Journal (D. L. ) 
Cook's Excursionist (A. Che. D. Hul. 

Co-operative News (A. Che. Cho. D. 

G. Hul. RR.) 
Cork Examiner (A. Hul.) 
Cornhill Magazine (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Cottager and Artisan (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. RR.) 
Cotton (All Branches) 
Country Sport (B.) 
Cow-keeper and Dairyman's Journal 

Crumpsall Guardian (Che. Cr. ) 
Daily Chronicle (All branches except 

B. G. M.) 
Daily Graphic (All Branches) 
Daily News (All Branches except Cr. 

Daily Telegraph (All Branches) 
Deceased Seamen (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. NH. RR.) 
Deliverer (D.) 
Draper's Record (A. B. Che. Cho. D. 

Har. Hul. HR. RR.) 
Educational Times (NH. R. ) 
Electrical Review (Hul.) 
Engineer (All Branches except Cr. M. 

Engineering (A. B. Che. CR. D. G. 

Hul. HR. L. O. R.) 



English Churchman (M. O. RR.) 
English lUustrated Magazine (All 

English Mechanic (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Era(Cho. Hul.) 
Estates Gazette (A. Cho. D. Hul. 

Evening Student (All Branches) 
Faith of our Fathers (RR.) 
Family Friend (A.) 
Family Herald (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
Farm, Field, and Fireside (D. NH.) 
Field (CR. Cho. D. Hul. L. O.) 
Fire and Water (NH.) 
Foresters' Miscellany (NH.) 
Fortnightly Review (A. Che. Cho. D. 

G. Hul. L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
Free Russia (A. B. Cho. D. Har. 

Hul. HR. NH.) 
Free Sunday Advocate (Cho.) 
Freeman's Journal (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Fruit Grower (D.) 
Furniture and Decoration (A. Che. 

Cho. D. Hul. RR.) 
Gardeners' Chronicle (CR. Cho. Har. 

Hul. HR. M. R.) 
Gardening (A. D. R.) 
Gazette and News (R.) 
Gentlewoman (All Branches except 

CR. G. M.) 
Geography (D. ) 
Girl's Own Paper (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Glad Tidings (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
Glasgow Herald (A. B. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. RR.) 
Good Templar's Watchword (Cho.) 
Good Words (All except Cr. M.) 
Gorton Reporter (G. HR. L. O.) 
Graphic (All Branches) 
Grocers' Review (AlLBranches except 

Guardian (A. Che. Cho. D. G. Har. 

Hul. L. O. RR.) 
Gwalia (Hul.) 
Harper's Magazine (All Branches 

except B.) 
Health News (G.) 
Hereford Times (Cho.) 
House (NH.) 
Hollandia (Har.) 
Idler (Hul.) 

Illustrated London News (All Bran- 
ches. ) 

Incorporated Accountants' Journal 

India Rubber Trade Journal (Cr. ) 
Industries and Iron (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul.) 
Inquirer (A. Che. D. Hul. HR. L. 

Insurance Agent and Review (A. Cho. 

D. Hul. HR. RR.) 
Insurance and Banking Review (RR.) 
Invention (Hul.) 
Inventor's Record (Hul.) 
Inventor's Review (A. Cho. D. G. 

Har. L. M. NH. R.) 
Irish Daily Independent (RR.) 
Irish Times (All Branches except B. 

Cr. Har. M.) 
Iron and Coal Trades' Review (D. 

Iron and Steel Trades' Journal (Cho.) 
Jewish Chronicle (Che.) 
Jewish Missionary Gleaner (Che.) 
Jewish Missionary Intelligence (A. 

Che. Cho. D. Hul. L. RR.) 
Jewish World (Che.) 
Journal of the Clerk of Works Associ- 
ation (D.) 
Journal of Gas Lighting (NH.) 
Judy (A. Che. Cho. G. Hul. HR.) 
Juvenile Magazine (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. L. RR. R. ) 
Juvenile Rechabite (All Branches) 
Knitter's Circular (D.) 
Knowledge (A. CR. D. Har. NH. 

Labour Gazette (A. B. Che. Cho. D. 

Har. Hul. HR. L. NH. R.) 
Labour News (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
Lady's Realm (A. Che. Cho. Cr. D. 

G. Hul. HR. L M. NH. O. R. 
Lancet (Cho. Hul. R.) 
Land and Water (Che. D. Hul. RR. 

Laundry News (Che.) 
Leeds Mercury (All Branches except 

Cr. Har. M.) 
Leisure Hour (All Branches.) 
Liberator (A. B. Cho. D. Har. Hul. 

HR. RR.) 
Light in the Home (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. RR.) 
Literary Guide (HR. RR.) 
Literary World (Hul.) 
Little Folks (All Branches except B. 

Cr. Har. M.) 
Liverpool Daily Courier (A. Che. 
Cho. D. G. Hul. L. RR.) 



Liverpool Daily Post (Cho. D. G. 

NH. O. K.) 
Liverpool Mercury (A. B. Che. CR. 

Cr. D. Har. Hul. HR. L. O. RR.) 
Local Government Journal (NH.) 
London Tailor (O.) 
Longman's Magazine (A. Che. D. G. 

Hul. L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
Machinery (CR. Hul.) 
Machinery Market (A. L. RR. R. ) 
Macmillan's Magazine (A. Che. CR. 

Cho. D. Har. Hul. L. NH. O. 

RR. R.) 
Madame (R.) 
Magazine of Art (A. Che. Cho. Cr. 

D. G. Hul. L.M. NH.O. RR.R.) 
Manchester City News (All Branches.) 
Manchester Courier (All Branches.) 
Manchester Entertainments Pro- 
gramme (All Branches except CR. 

Cr. HR. M.) 
Manchester Evening Chronicle (All 

Manchester Evening Mail (All 

Branches. ) 
Manchester Evening News (All 

Manchester Faces and Places (A. 

Che. Cho. Cr. D. G. Hul. L. 

NH. O. RR. R.) 
Manchester Guardian (All Branches) 
Manchester Health Returns (All 

Manchester Quarterly (All Branches 

except B. Cr. M.) 
Manchester Weekly Times (All 

Mariner (CR. D. G. H. O.) 
Mark Lane Express (B. ) 
Melia's Magazine (A. Che. Hul. R.) 
Messenger(A.Che.Cho. D. Hul.RR.) 
Midland Counties Herald (D. Hul.) 
Mining Engineering (A. B. Che. CR. 

Cho. D. ) 
Mission Field (All Branches except 

Cr. M.) 
Month (RR.) 
Monthly Journal of Society of 

Musicians (Che.) 
Monthly Reporter (Cho. Hul.) 
Morning Post (Che. Hul. O.) 
Musical Herald (Che. D. Hul.) 
Musical Tunes (All Branches except 

B. Cr. M.) 
National Church (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. RR.) 
Nature (Che. D. Hul. L. NH. RR. 

New Church Magazine (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. L. M. O. RR. R.) 
Newcastle Chronicle (D. RR.) 
Nmeteenth Century (All Branches 

except B. M.) 
Northern Churchman (O. ) 
Notes and Queries (L. ) 
Nottingham Express (Che.) 
Odd-Fellows Magazine (A. D. Har. 

Hul. NH. RR.) 
Optical Magic Lantern Journal (Che. 

Our Own Gazette (A. Cho. D. Hul. 

Owens College Union Magazine(RR. ) 
Pall[ Mall Gazette (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Pall Mall Magazine (All Branches 

except M.) 
Pearsons Magazine (Cr. M.) 
Personal Rights (D.) 
Phonetic Journal (All Branches except 

B. Cr. Har. M. RR.) 
Pitman's Shorthand Weekly (CR.) 
Poor Law Officers' Journal ((i.) 
Positivist Review (A. B. Che. D. 

Har. Hul. HR. NH. R.) 
Post (Hul.) 
Post Magazine and Insurance Gazette 

Preston Guardian (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. RR.) 
Preston Herald (Cho.) 
Printers' Engineer (D.) 
Printers' Register (D.) 
Property List (A. B. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. HR. R.) 
Public Health Engineer (G.) 
Punch (All Branches) 
Queen (All Branches except B. RR.) 
Quiver (All Branches except B. Cr. 

Har. M.) 
Railway Guide, Bradshaw (All Bran- 
Railway Guide, Heywood (A. Cho. 

D. Hul. RR.) 
Railway Guide, Sim's (Cho. D. RR.) 
Railway News (Cho. G.) 
Railway Review (A. Cho. Har. L. 

Railway Timetal>le, Caledonian Rail- 
way (D. Hul.) 
Cheshire Lines (Cho. Cr. D. 

Hul. L. RR. R.) 

Great Central (A. Che. Cho. 

Cr. D. Hul. HR. L. RR.) 

-. Great Northern (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. HR. RR ) 



Railway Timetable Great Western (A. 

Che. Cho. D. G. Har. Hul, L. 

NIL RR. R.) 
Lancashire and Yorkshire (A. 

Che. Cho. Cr. D. IIul. HR. RR.) 
London, Chatham, and Dover 

London and North Western 

(A. Che. Cho. Cr. D. G. Hul. 

HR. L. NH. RR. R.) 
Midland (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. HR. L. RR. R.) 

North British (D.) 

North Eastern (Che. Cr.) 

Reading Mercury (Hul.) 

Rechabite and Temperance Magazine 

(All Branches) 
Reporters' Magazine (Cho.) 
Review of Reviews (All Branches) 
Rhondda Post (Har.) 
Rochdale Observer (Che. Cho. Cr.) 
Rural World (NH.) 
St. James's Gazette (A. CR. Cr. Cho. 

D. G. Hul. HR. L. NH. O. RR. 

St. Nicholas (All Branches except 

B. Cr. Har. M.) 
Sales and Wants Advertiser (D.) 
Salford Chronicle (Che. D.) 
Saturday Review (All Branches except 

B. Har. M.) 
Schoolmaster (A. Che. Cho. D. Hul. 

L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
Science Gossip (Hul.) 
Scientific American and Supplement 

(A. Che. Cho. D. G. Hul. L. 

NH. O. RR. R.) 
Scotsman (All Branches except B. Cr. 

Scribner's Magazine (All Branches 

except B. CR. Cr. ^L) 
Script Phonographic Journal (All 

Sheffield Daily Telegraph (A. Che. 

Cho. D. Har. Hub NH. O. RR. 

Shepherds' Magazine (A. B. Che. 

CR. Cho. D. Har. Hul. HR. 

NH. RR.) 
Shorthand Magazine (A. Che. Cho. 

D. Hul. O. RR.) 
Skegness Herald (D.) 
Sketch (All Branches except M.) 
Son of Temperance (All Branches) 
South Wales Daily News (Cho.) 
South Manchester Chronicle (L. R.) 
Speaker (Che. Cr. D. G. Hul. L. M. 

O. RR. R.) 

Spectator (All Branches except B. CR.) 
Staffordshire Sentinel (O.) 
Standard (All Branches except Cr. M.) 
Stationery Trades' Journal (Hul.) 
Stationery World (NH.) 
Stock and Share News (A.) 
Strand Magazine (All Branches) 
Sunday (All Branches except B. Cr. 

Har. M.) 
Sunday at Home (All Branches) 
Sunday Magazine (All Branches 

except B. Cr. Har. M.) 
Sunshine (A. Che. CR. Cho. D. G. 

Hul. HR. O. RR.) 
Tablet (A. Che. D. G. Hul. L. NH. 

O. RR. R.) 
Temple Bar (All Branches except Cr. 

Textile Mercury (All Branches except 

(CR. Cr. Har. M.) 
Textile Recorder (A. Che. Cho. D. 

Hul. RR.) 
Times (All Branches except M. ) 
Tool and Machinery Register (A. B. 
CR. Che. Cho. D. G. Hul. HR. 
NH. O. RK.) 
Tract Magazine (Hul. RK.) 
Trade and Industry (O.) 
Trade Journals Review (D. Hul.) 
Travel (A. D. Hul.) 
Truth (All Branches except M.) 
Tuam Herald (D.) 
Two Worlds (All Branches) 
University Correspondent (D. Hul.) 
University Extension Journal (Che.) 
Vaccination Inquirer (All Branches 

except Cr. AI.) 
Vegetarian Messenger (All Branches 

except Cr. M.) 
Volunteer Record (Hul.) 
Warehouseman and Draper (Che. 

Cho. D. Hul. HR. RR. R.) 
Warrington Guardian (D.) 
Weekly Dispatch (Cho.) 
Welsh Nation (D. Hul.) 
Westminster Budget (All Branches 

except B. CR. Cr. M.) 
Westminster Gazette (All Branches 

except A. CR. Cr. M.) 
What's On (A. Che. Cho. D. G. Hul. 

L. NH. O. RR. R.) 
W^indsor Magazine (All Branches 

except ]\L) 
Woman at Home (A. Hul.) 
Worcester Herald (Hul.) 
Work (All Branches except Cr. M.) 
World (Che. Cr. Cho. D.Hul. HR. 
L. NH. O. RR.) 


Yorkshire Post (Cho. Hul.) Y. M. C. A. Beehive (All Branches.) 

Younp Days (A. Che. CR. Cho. D. Young Woman (All Branches except 

G. Hul. HR. L. NH. RR. R.) Cr. M.) 

Youne Man (All Branches except Cr. Zoophilist (A. Che. Cho. D. Har. 

M ) Hul. NH. RR.) 

Many of the periodicals are bound when the volumes 
are complete, and added to the stock of the library. 
Several newspapers are also kept on file for some time, 
and a directory of Manchester, list of voters, encyclopaedias, 
and some other works of reference are provided at each 
library. The newsrooms are open every week-day from 
8-30 a.m. to 1 0-0 p.m., and on Sunday from 2-0 p.m. to 
9-0 p.m. 

The five reading rooms are named and situated thus — 
Bradford ; Brook Street. 
Harpurhey ; Queen's Park. 
Hyde Road ; Hyde Road. 
Chester Road ; Chester Road. 
Crumpsall ; Crescent Road, Crumpsall. 
They are provided with newspapers and periodicals, as 
detailed in the list given on page 271, and also a selection 
of books suitable for reading and for reference. Books 
can also be obtained for home reading from the Branch 
Library nearest to any of them on application. These 
rooms are kept open during the same hours as the Branch 

The reading room at Bradford occupies part of the 
building formerly used as the Town Hall of that township. 
When no longer required for that purpose, it was handed 
over to the Libraries Committee, and its Council Chamber 
was converted into a reading room. This was thrown open 
to the public on February 8th, 1 887, Alderman Walton 
Smith, then Chairman of the Committee, presiding at the 


Alderman Smith said the inhabitants of Bradford 
were by no means lacking in literary tastes, for hitherto 
they had been good customers of the Ancoats Branch 
lending library. In considering what could be done for 
the educational welfare of the newly added district of 
Bradford, the Free Libraries Committee found that the 
library rate of id. in the pound on the rateable property 
in Bradford produced about ;^200 per annum, which was 
much too small to permit a branch lending library being 
established, but they could provide the combined news 
and reading room, in which they were then assembled, 
which would entail an annual expenditure of about ^200. 
He had much pleasure in declaring the reading room 
open for the use of the public. 

Mr. Thewlis Johnson said he had for a long time 
regretted there was no place in the district where working 
men could read the papers in comfort, and he had no 
doubt the people of Bradford were grateful to the 
Libraries Committee for the handsome provision now 
made for their wants. 

Alderman John Hopkinson said this was an illustra- 
tion of the benefits of co-operation. On the rent of a 
house at 55. a week, the cost of providing libraries 
amounted to lod. a year, so that for less than a farthing a 
week a ratepayer of this kind had the use of the reading 
room and the libraries elsewhere in the city, with as much 
of the best literature as he and his family could get 
through. The more they had of such institutions the 
more might they expect to diminish the police expenses 
of the city, 

Mr. W. E. A. Axon, who suggested that lectures should 
be given in connection with the reading room, and other 
gentlemen also addressed the meeting. 

This Reading Room has not been so eminently suc- 
cessful as the other undertakings of the Libraries Com- 
mittee owing doubtless to the inconvenient situation of 
the building. A Boys' Room was added in November, 
1889, and it has been fairly well used. 

On the following day, February 9th, 1887, the Har- 
purhey Reading Room was opened. This building was 


erected from designs by Mr. John Allison, then Cit\- 
Surveyor, at a cost of ;^400. The site is within the 
Queen's Park near to the principal entrance, and was given 
by the Parks Committee. The building consists of a large, 
well-lit room with two smaller ones for the attendants, all 
being on the same floor. There is accommodation for about 
200 readers, and the usual newspapers, magazines, and 
books of reference are provided. The opening ceremony 
was held in the room, Alderman Walton Smith presiding. 

Alderman Smith said he was aware that some people 
were not satisfied with the exterior of the building, and 
had written letters to the press not very commendator}' 
of the Libraries Committee. He thought his audience 
would agree with him, however, when he said the interior 
was pleasant and agreeable, and trusted that the work 
carried on there would give both recreation and edu- 
cation. That they had not a larger and better building 
was simply due to the expenses incidental to the adminis- 
tration of the lending libraries. They found that the 
expenses of that room would amount to iJ'200 yearly. 
From a penny rate Harpurhey did not contribute i^ioo. 
He then declared the room open. 

Councillor Harry Ravvson said the present room was 
one of the first fruits from their junction with Manchester. 
It could hardly be called a very great boon, but it was a 
very fair beginning of a vigorous shoot, which he hoped 
would strike its roots deep in the earth and flourish so 
well that the Committee would find it necessary to trans- 
plant it where it might get more light and air. 

Mr. Geo. Milner also spoke and advocated the delivery 
of short lectures on books, and the placing in the room 
the volumes of Cassell's National Library. 

The Hyde Road Reading Room was inaugurated on 
May 7th, 1888, by public meeting held in the room. 

The Mayor, Alderman (since Sir) John James Harvvood, 
in declaring the building open, said it must be a great 
gratification to the Council and to the Libraries Com- 
mittee particularly, to know how deeply these reading 


rooms and libraries were appreciated by the inhabi- 
tants of Manchester. The total number of visits 
to all the libraries for all purposes during last year 
was 4,178,400. Had anyone prophesied fifty years 
ago that there would have been over 4,000,000 visits to 
free libraries in a year, he would have been set down 
as a person given to exaggeration. In 1877-8, the 
first year that the Committee were able to open 
reading rooms for boys, the juvenile visitors numbered 
21,424; while in 1886-7, the last year for which they 
had the statistics, the number had increased to 350,800. 
He hoped they would look upon that reading room as 
something sacred, that they would try to induce others 
to visit the room, and that they would make a proper 
and profitable and good use of the newspapers and books 
which would be provided for them by the Council. He 
desired to compliment the Libraries Committee on the 
efficient way in which they had done their work, and he 
hoped Mr. Alderman Smith and his colleagues would 
be long spared to carry on this good work at such a small 
cost, and with such real satisfaction to the inhabitants of 
this great, and as he trusted what was destined to be, 
the greater city of Manchester. 

Alderman Walton Smith,ChairmanoftheFree Libraries 
Committee said that probably many of those present 
would remember that that building was formerly a 
Primitive Methodist Chapel, but the Libraries Committee 
had so adapted it as to make it eminently useful for the 
large population in the neighbourhood as a library and 
reading room. They had purchased the chapel for ^600, 
and the cost of furnishing and adapting the building had 
increased this amount to ;^i,300. The Council had 
observed with pleasure how the libraries were appreciated 
by the public, and had noted with equal pleasure that 
there was no grumbling at the expense which had been 
incurred in this behalf When they next applied to 
Parliament for a bill they intended to introduce a clause 
which would enable them to spend more than one penny 
in the pound for library purposes. 

On the motion of Mr. Alderman Bennett, seconded 
by Councillor Chesters Thompson and supported by 
Councillor Hinchliffe, a vote of thanks was passed to the 


Mayor. The Mayor briefly replied, and then moved a 
vote of thanks to the Chairman for his unceasing efforts 
in developing the library system in Manchester, and for 
his conduct in the chair that evening. Councillor Schou 
• seconded the motion, and said he was sure Mr. Smith 
and his Committee would do all in their power to extend 
the usefulness of free libraries throughout the city of 
Manchester. Prior to declaring the library open the 
Mayor addressed a large number of boys who had 
assembled to meet him in the boys' reading room in the 
basement. At the close of his remarks a vote of thanks, 
moved and seconded by two of the boys, was heartily 
accorded to his Worship. 

The building was formerly a chapel belonging to the 
Primitive Methodist body, and was altered for its present 
purpose from designs by Mr. John Allison. The public 
reading room is a lofty and cheerful looking room, 43ft. 
long by 31ft. wide, and is surrounded by stands, on which 
the newspapers are placed. A boys' room has been 
constructed in the basement, being the same size as the 
upper floor, and loft high. Both floors are heated by 
hot-water pipes, and special attention has been paid to the 

A description of the Chester Road Reading Room, 
and an account of its opening have already been given. 
At Crumpsall the arrangements are as yet temporary, but 
the room has already proved remarkably popular as a 
delivery station. 
d boys' rooms. 

The rooms set apart for boys are each provided with a 
selection of about 500 volumes of books especially suitable 
for perusal by them. Periodicals are also supplied, of 
which the following is a list : — 


Band of Hope Review 


British Workman 

St. Nicholas 

Children's Friend 


Friendly Greetings 


Little Folks 

Young Days 


Boy's Own Paper 
Children's Own 


Illustrated London News 



These rooms are open from six p.m. to nine p.m. each 
evening, Sundays included. 


The Staff consists of a Chief Librarian, Deputy Chief 
Librarian, a Superintendent of Branches, an Assistant 
Librarian of the Reference Library, eleven Librarians 
of the Branch Libraries (five being women), and the 
following 97 assistants and 43 other employees : — 

Reference Library — Male Assistants 15 

P'emale ,, 2 

Binders 2 

Porters 4 

Cleaners 3 

Ancoats — Female Assistants 6 

One Porter and one Cleaner. . . 2 

Bradford — Female Assistants 3 

One Cleaner i 

Cheetham — Female Assistants 5 

One Porter and two Cleaners 3 

Chester Road^ Female Assistants 3 

One Cleaner i 

Chorlton — Female Assistants 8 

One Porter and one Cleaner... 2 

Crumpsall — Female Assistants 2 

One Cleaner i 

Deansgate — Female Assistants 7 

One Porter and two Cleaners 3 

Gorton — Female Assistants 5 

One Porter and one Cleaner... 2 

Harpurhey— Female Assistants 2 

One Cleaner i 


HuLME — Female Assistants g 

One Porter and two Cleaners 3 
Hyde Road — Female Assistants 3 

One Cleaner i 

LoNGSiGHT— Female Assistants 6 

One Porter and one Cleaner. . . 2 
MosTON — Female Assistants 2 

One Cleaner i 

Newton Heath — Female Assistants 4 

One Porter and one Cleaner. . . 2 
Openshaw — Female Assistants 6 

Two Porters and two Cleaners 4 
Rochdale Road — Female Assistants 5 

One Porter and two Cleaners 3 
RusHOLMB — Female Assistants 4 

One Porter and one Cleaner. . . 2 


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MAR 2 4 1978 

I DEC 2 1988 


m NOV 2 - 1988 



BERKELEY, CA 94720 ^1 

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t^ (F7763sl0)476 

General Library 

University of California 







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